The Truth About Shocking Disease That Killed An Iowa Swimmer
How likely is it that a person dies from this?
Since 1962 there have only been 154 documented cases. According to health officials, this infection is rare but when a person does get it, is usually fatal. Of those victims, only four have survived it.
It goes by the nickname PAM but has nothing to do with the spray you use on the grill to stop burgers from sticking. Its official name is primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The amoeba which causes it has the daunting name Naegleria fowleri.
This deadly organism- -
infects people when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. The Naegleria fowleri ameba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue. - -CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
According to Dakota News Now - -
The victim, a man from Missouri, was taken to a hospital earlier this month after visiting the beach area and swimming in the Lake of Three Fires in Taylor County.
That Iowa beach remains closed at this time.
The infection does not spread person-to-person, and must be forced up your nose -
This can occur when you dive into or dunk your head into contaminated water. It can also happen when you irrigate your nose with non-sterile water for religious or other reasons like using a neti pot...
You could also find this amoeba in a poorly chlorinated warm pool, or hot tub.
How rare is this infection?
From 2012 to 2021, only 31 people have contracted it (adding this Iowa swimmer, 32 victims, as of this year).
Where did the victims come into contact with this amoeba?
Of those cases, 28 people were infected by recreational water, two people were infected after performing nasal irrigation using contaminated tap water, and one person was infected by contaminated tap water used on a backyard slip-n-slide
Sources: Dakota News Now, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and Forbes Online.