Warning: Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Lake Mead

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Lake Mead visitors are being warned about a rare, brain-eating amoeba that has been found in the water.

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, can cause a deadly infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

N. fowleri is found in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs because it is a thermophilic organism, meaning it prefers warm temperatures.

It enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, where it causes inflammation and destruction. Symptoms of PAM include severe headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck.

PAM is a rare but fatal infection. According to the CDC, the fatality rate is 97%. There is no cure for PAM, and treatment is primarily supportive.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area officials are advising visitors to take precautions to avoid exposure to N. fowleri.

Swimmers should avoid diving, jumping, dunking their head underwater, or participating in activities that could result in water going up the nose.

Swimmers should also avoid digging or stirring the sediment at the bottom of the lake, as the amoeba is more likely to live there.

In addition to taking precautions while swimming, visitors to Lake Mead should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of PAM.

N. fowleri is most likely to be found in warm freshwater during the summer months. However, it can also be found in other bodies of warm freshwater, including swimming pools and hot tubs.

It is important to take precautions to avoid exposure to N. fowleri, no matter where you are swimming.

In addition to the precautions listed above, swimmers can also protect themselves from N. fowleri by using a nose clip when swimming in warm freshwater.

Parents should be vigilant when supervising children swimming in warm freshwater.

Children are more likely to dive and jump into the water, which can increase their risk of exposure to N. fowleri.

Climate change is thought to be contributing to the northward expansion of N. fowleri. As the planet warms, the amoeba is able to survive in more northern latitudes.

This means that swimmers in all parts of the United States should be aware of the risk of exposure to N. fowleri.

If you have any concerns about exposure to N. fowleri, talk to your doctor. They can provide you with more information about the amoeba and how to protect yourself from infection.

Despite the risks posed by N. fowleri, Lake Mead remains a popular destination for swimming and other water activities.

By taking precautions to avoid exposure to the amoeba, visitors can enjoy the lake safely.

Be sure to take care!