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"Murphy was an optimist!"

BRAINS! Braaaainnns! September 29, 2007 9:54 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Health, Of Interest, Science
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Since you do not have enough to worry about, I suppose you probably want to hear about the Zombie Amoeba. That’s right. There is an amoeba that wants to eat your brains! If I recall my science lessons correctly, an amoeba is a single celled organism. This simple thing is taking people down.

According to the CDC, the amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL’-erh-eye) killed 23 people in the United States, from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials noticed a spike with six cases — three in Florida, two in Texas and one in Arizona. The CDC knows of only several hundred cases worldwide since its discovery in Australia in the 1960s. [Source]

Where does it thrive? Heat and stagnant water. So as global warming worsens and people flock to the lakes to cool themselves, the Naegleria is going to eat their brains.

Though infections tend to be found in southern states, Naegleria lives almost everywhere in lakes, hot springs, even dirty swimming pools, grazing off algae and bacteria in the sediment. [Source]

How do you know your brain is being eaten? Basically you have the same symptoms as everything else.

People who are infected tend to complain of a stiff neck, headaches and fevers. In the later stages, they’ll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes… [Source]

And how does it eat your brain? Through your nose!

Beach said people become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose — say, by doing a somersault in chest-deep water — the amoeba can latch onto the olfactory nerve. … Beach said people become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose — say, by doing a somersault in chest-deep water — the amoeba can latch onto the olfactory nerve. … "Usually, from initial exposure it’s fatal within two weeks," [Source]

Can this be prevented?

"You’d have to have water going way up in your nose to begin with" to be infected … The easiest way to prevent infection … is to use nose clips when swimming or diving in fresh water. [Source]

Thanks to BoingBoing, my wife will never let the children near water again.

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