I must apologize… I have been so busy that I have neglected this for far too long. Again, I apologize. With that being said, I would like to cover a parasite that has been getting a lot of coverage in the news, Naegleria fowleri (a.k.a. the brain eating amoeba).
Naegleria folweri is an amoeba (a unicellular organism). Amoebas are protozoans.
Naegleria fowleri is a free-living amoeba.This means that they do not need to infect the human body, or any other animal to continue its life cycle. Thus Naegleria fowleri is an opportunist, taking hold of the opportunity at hand to infect. N. fowleri lives in water, such as ponds, rivers, and so forth. It resides in high temperatures (often in temperatures higher than 25 degrees C). N. folweri’s life cycles has three stages: a cyst, a trophozoite, and a biflagellated trophozoite.
The stage we want to pay attention to is the trophozoite; the trophozoite is the infective stage for humans. This pathogen enters the body through the nose. This often happens when diving into the water, or when one roughly submerges into the water..though at the end of the day, it just consists of the trophozoite getting up your nose somehow. I have taken an excellent explnation from WHO (http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/bathing/recreadischap5.pdf) :
“Amoebae enter the nasal mucosa, cribriform plate and
olfactory bulbs of the brain. The amoebae then spread to other regions of the
brain where they cause inflammation and destruction of the brain tissue and
penetrate the central nervous system. Water is the only known source of
infection (WHO 2004a).”
The amoeba then begins to feed on the brain cells; which generally results in PAM (Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis). As you can imagine this is a very serious problem. Yet again, I find myself using WHO’s (http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/bathing/recreadischap5.pdf) large list of symptoms :
“Onset of PAM is abrupt, with rapidly progressive headaches, fever, nausea,
vomiting, pharyngitis and nasal obstruction or discharge (Martinez 1993).
Convulsions may occur together with lethargy, confusion and a stiff neck.
Eventually the patient falls into a coma and death usually occurs within 1 to 14
days. Other symptoms include abnormalities of taste and smell; seizures;
cerebellar ataxia; nuchal rigidity; photophobia; palsies of the third, fourth and
sixth cranial nerves; and increased intracranial pressure. Cardiac abnormalities
may also occur. “
PAM is very fatal, only two people have been known to have survived ( I am checking that fact). This resulted from the doctors catching it early on in the game and throwing a cocktail mix at the infected.
PAM is a very serious disease, thankfully though the likelihood of this occurring is minimal, however; please bare in mind that though the risk is minimal, it still has happened to people. So be careful out there!!
Side note: Though we hear that the most common way of entry is via a large body of water , there has been a case of infection that did not come from swimming/diving/ or playing in a large body of water. This one case happened when a young man from Louisiana used a neti pot filled with tap water. Unfortunately, the tap water was infected with N. fowleri.
—-That concludes my post on N. fowleri. This post will more than likely change as I find myself remembering more details(that I can support with evidence). So more info will more than likely be added to this page in a few days.—-
Disclaimer: all the information that I post comes straight from my memory. I then make sure it is correct by checking my notes (which come from Ph.D possessing teachers), my text books, and as you can tell very serious websites, such as WHO, the CDC, and so forth.
Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks?