Naegleria fowleri, colloquially known as the “brain-eating amoeba,” is a free-living, bacteria-eating amoeba that can be pathogenic. It can cause a sudden and severe brain infection called naegleriasis, also known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
According to the CDC, Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. When the organism is “inhaled” through the nose, it enters the nasal sinuses, and then makes its way to the brain where it attacks brain tissue and causes the near-certain death of the host.
Protecting People in the Gulf States from Brain-Eating Amoeba
This amoeba likes to live in warm water, including warm lakes and rivers, as well as hot springs. The organism may also be found in warm pools that are not properly chlorinated. Occurrence in the Gulf States area is more likely because of our higher water temperatures.
Since water from public water supplies is used in swimming pools, spas, and other situations that would allow inhalation of mist, measures should be taken to prohibit viable organisms in the water supply.
By maintaining adequate levels of disinfectant chemicals throughout the distribution system, the risk is greatly reduced. Technology now exists to monitor chlorine levels remotely so you can be assured that disinfectant levels are adequate without the travel previously associated with frequent sampling.
Our drinking water quality experts and technicians help you evaluate solutions that will give you the peace of mind to protect your drinking water customers, and families, from this deadly microscopic organism. Contact us today for more information.