Attack of the Brain-Eating Amoebas!
A warming planet makes ideal breeding grounds for a freaky parasite.
If hantavirus wasn’t enough to freak you out, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the autopsy report for a 30-year-old man in Southwestern Indiana indicates that a brain-eating amoeba was responsible for his death. If confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control, this would be the fourth death this year from primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which is caused by a parasite known as Naegleria fowleri.
Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled living organism that lives in warm, fresh water, according to the CDC. (It’s not actually an amoeba, despite the colloquial term for it.) It can travel up your nose while swimming in a lake or stream, multiply, and proceed to eat your brain. It has a 99 percent fatality rate, since only one person in the US has ever been documented surviving the infection. (There have also been several incidents in the US in recent years of people getting the parasite from using a neti pot.)
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