Brain Eating Bug

Swim Safe, Beware of Brain Eating Amoeba

By Prof. Dr. Abdullah G Arijo

With start of summer season, swimming pools will attract masses to taste the comfort against hot wave around, but this will bring risk of being infected with Brain Eating Amoeba. The year 2019 took away 13 precious lives caused by Negleria fowleri, a brain eating bug. The ongoing year will probably record more infection. All blame shall go to swimming pool administration for not making proper arrangements aimed at  water treatment to overcome the issue.

Negleria fowleri is a free-living ameba that causes amebic meningoencephalitis in humans and animals, a pathogenic condition that seriously affects brain and remains fatal.  The organism is a occurs worldwide and may be found in soil and freshwater ponds, hot springs, streams, rivers, pools, thermally polluted streams, and tap waters.

The parasite is thermophilic and can tolerate warm water in dimictic and mono mictic lakes and multiplies biologically best at temperature ranging between 37°C to 45°C.

Animals particularly water buffalo are highly susceptible to the infection, but problem goes un-notices as little attention is paid towards animals. Humans become victim when they swim in swimming pools. The parasites make it way and usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose.  and finally, the pathogen reaches the brain causing a fatal condition leading to death.

The parasite requires not more than 2 weeks to develop including fever, sudden, severe headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, confusion. and loss of balance as hypothalamus of brain loses its function of maintaining the balance and position of the body. Besides, there may also be hallucinations, drooping eyelid, blurred vision, and loss of the sense of taste.

Meningoencephalitis also known as encephalomeningitis is an inflammation of the brain and its surrounding protective membranes and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoan.  

Some Facts about Naegleria

  1. a) People usually become infected from warm freshwater lakes and rivers.
  2. b) The amoeba gets to the brain through the nose
  3. c) Infection with this brain-eating amoeba is very rare
  4. d) Very few people survive these infections.

The risk factors vary in various societies. In the United States, millions of people are exposed to the amoeba that causes naegleria infection each year, but few people get sick from it. From 2007 to 2017, 40 infections were reported. However, some factors that might increase your risk of naegleria infection include swimming in freshwater, particularly swimming pools. 

Th intensity of infection may be age related. Children and young adults are the most likely age groups to be affected, possibly because they’re likely to stay in the water longer and are more active in the water.

Prevention of this deadly infection is to reduce the risk of naegleria infection by avoiding swimming freshwater such as lakes and rivers, ponds pools and swimming poos. It is imperative to hold the nose closed when jumping or diving into water.

warm bodies of fresh water.

There must be strict rules and binding on commercial swimming pool holders to make sure that preventive measure have been adopted to make swimming water contamination free, or in days to come, the concentration of problem may rise.

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