Warning about Deadly Amoeba

We’re all tempted to play in fresh water pools on our river trips. Here’s something to watch out for–I edited it to shorten. At the end are some things you can do to protect yourself:

16-Year-Old Girl Dies After Amoeba Infection

Updated: 12:58 pm EDT August 15, 2011

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A 16-year-old girl has died after she was infected by an amoeba in Brevard County, according to officials. The Brevard County Health Department told WFTV it believes Courtney Nash was infected during a recent swim in the St. John’s River.

Officials believe Nash, who was an Astronaut High School student, may have come across the amoeba while swimming in the St. John’s River, not far from her family’s home in Mims last week.

Nash was apparently suffering from some of the symptoms of an amoeba infection, ranging from fever, nausea and headaches to confusion and delirium. The State Health Department said she had a case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

Health officials said this kind of infection is almost always fatal. But they also said contracting the life-threatening amoeba is rare. They told WFTV that cases like this almost always happen in the summer and only in freshwater lakes and ponds where water is above 80 degrees.

The amoebas typically live at the bottom of those bodies of water, and when stirred up, it can enter the human body through the nose or ear canal, according to health officials. The infection normally sets in quickly and symptoms are almost immediate, including fever, headache, nausea and disorientation.

Prevention is the key. The Brevard County Health Department recommends the following:

  • Don’t swim or jump into warm, stagnant, fresh water, such as ponds or warm water discharge pools, or non-chlorinated swimming pools.

  • Don’t swim in polluted water.

  • Don’t swim in areas posted as “No Swimming.”

  • Hold your nose, or use nose plugs when jumping or diving into water.


Well now I know what happened to me
Having been thoroughly sknorknozzled more than a few times while paddling whitewater of dubious quality, it is little wonder that my brain no longer functions properly.

I’d imagine this year to be the worst
for naegleria fowleri in a long time. They flourish in warm, stagnant water, on the bottom. With the extensive heat wave and drought, that means a lot of lakes are warmer, getting less input from other waters making them more still, and also a lot shallower. Perfect conditions for Homo sapiens and Naegleria fowleri to meet.

Wow… very scary

Just in the news in Richmond, VA
I understand he was swimming in the James River


A boy near Richmond has died from meningitis after he contracted a rare water borne illness. Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. In this case it was caused by a water borne amoeba.

Christian Strickland was just nine years old. His mother says the amoeba got into his body while he was swimming.

While cases of people getting sick from this amoeba are rare, Virginia Department of Health officials tell News 7 they want to get the word out to everyone about this deadly danger.

“We haven’t had a recorded case in Virginia since 1969,” said Dr. Marissa Levine with the Virginia Department of Health. The amoeba called naegleria fowleri lives in stagnant freshwater. “We’re talking about freshwater bodies like lakes and ponds and rivers,” said Dr. Levine.

The amoeba enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain where it destroys brain tissue. People usually die within a week, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

People are usually infected while swimming or playing water sports in an area of a lake, pond or river that has been stagnant. “It would be obvious that the water appeared stagnant, that the water level was low, that the temperatures were very high like the one’s we’ve had,” said Dr. Levine.

Dr. Levine stresses while it is extremely rare, people should be aware of it.

There are there are ways to protect against the illness. Avoid swimming in obviously stagnant water when temperatures are high and water levels are low.

Hold your nose or wear nose plugs or just don’t put your head under water, said Dr. Levine.

The health department would not give specifics about the child who died, but the family told a Richmond newspaper the boy had been at a fishing camp and had not been sick. He died August 5th.

Michigan fresh water
Now nobody will enter the water …

It’s like a micro-mini version of JAWS

scaring everyone to stay on shore :frowning:

Ear canal is not regarded as an entry
route. Water up the nose puts the amoeba right on the olfactory endings, and it then works its way up to the olfactory lobe and the rest of the brain.

A CDC paper describes a boy who died of PAM after swimming nearly all day with friends in a warm (over 90 degrees) drought- depleted, almost stagnant river in south Georgia.

It does sound as if wearing noseclips would increase one’s safety if one were forced to swim or recreate in very warm, stagnant water. Otherwise, the risk is very, very low. Knowledge of risk conditions is relevant for parents and supervisors of children. Kids may swim in anything. Especially boys, which is perhaps why CDC mentioned a 5:1 predominance of boys to girls in contracting the disorder.

I’m baffled
That people dont already know that stagnant water breeds nasties. I remember writing a report about someone dying from something like this when I was in 2nd grade, 44 years ago…

It’s not unusual to hear of one or two incidents each summer here in Florida. The waters just get so warm and apparently the amoeba thrive.

As a testament to the young lady she’d had a living will drawn up when she was 14. The papers reported that she provided organs that helped 7 others that were in need of them.

Don’t be paranoid…

They give very clear description of
the conditions that make for risk.

Considering how many people are in all sorts of water in Florida every summer, one would expect a case or two. It doesn’t indicate actual high risk overall, just the need to recognise which are truly high risk waters.

Up here we have Crupto and Stripto
Two nasty micro-organisms that will make you sick for months if they get in your intestinal track. Leave you weak and “in distress.” A little known fact about the Upper Delaware River.

Swimming in Florida must suck…
… swim in fresh water, and you gotta watch out for death-amoebas and alligators.

Swim in the ocean, and then you have to worry about all the bull sharks.

Best bet seems to be to stay on the beach and ogle the bikini chicks.

Who else paddled today and thought about this thing. Three deaths per year since 1960. I’m going to stop worrying now.

BTW, a kid in Louisiana got it from using tap water to flush his sinuses. So don’t do that.

Ryan L.

The waters I’m paddling in aren’t all that clean. I also watched a kid die from this. It is not something I can easily forget about.

Canoer’s are at NO risk…
…I mean it’s a BRAIN eating amoeba…

Yuk, Yuk, Yuk…

Score one fer the Kayaker’s!

(c’mon, put 'em uuup!, Put 'em uuup!)

No ogling
Good way to get shot

Mirrored sunglasses NM

Some kayakers never learn how to use
apostrophes. Y’uk yu’k.

Beware of bikini girls packing heat