Soil and water

Iowa beach: A swimmer was infected with a brain-eating amoeba after visiting Lake of the Three Fires State Park

“The closure is a precautionary response to a confirmed Naegleria fowleri infection in a Missouri resident with recent potential exposure while swimming at the beach,” according to a statement from the health department.

Naegleria fowleri is a “free-living, single-celled microscopic amoeba that can cause a rare and life-threatening infection of the brain called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM),” the agency said.

“MAP is extremely rare. Since 1962, only 154 known cases have been identified in the United States,” the statement said.

Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in soil and in warm, fresh water like lakes, rivers and hot springs, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also be found in poorly maintained or unchlorinated swimming pools.

Infections caused by Naegleria fowleri can occur when water where the amoeba is present enters the body through a person’s nose and then travels to the brain where it destroys brain tissue, the Department of Health said. health. The infection is not contagious and cannot be caused by ingesting contaminated water.

The health department is working with the CDC to test the lake water and “confirm the presence of Naegleria fowleri,” which will take several days, according to the statement.

No additional suspected cases are currently being investigated in Missouri or Iowa, the agency said.

Although rare, PAM is “devastating” and “usually fatal,” according to the CDC. “Among the well-documented cases, there are only five known survivors in North America,” the CDC said.
In September 2021, a North Texas child died after contracting the rare brain-eating amoeba at a city wading pool. In 2020, a 6-year-old boy in Lake Jackson, Texas died after being exposed to the amoeba found in the water of the splash fountain where he had been playing.
A 10-year-old girl from Texas died in 2019 after battling the brain-eating amoeba for more than a week.

Symptoms begin with severe headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting before escalating into seizures, hallucinations and coma, according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, it takes about five days after infection for the first symptoms of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis to appear. The disease progresses rapidly and usually leads to death between one and 18 days after the onset of symptoms.

To reduce the risk of infection, the health department advises swimmers to limit the amount of water that gets into their noses by holding their noses shut or using nose clips, keeping their heads above water and avoiding being in the water when the temperatures are very high.