The Real Zombie: Naegleria Fowleri

Naegleria Fowleri

Naegleria Fowleri is an amoeba known well for brain-eating. 

Having the amoeba was a disease from long ago, but has made another recent appearance in Texas fresh waters. 

The amoeba is found in the bottom warm fresh water bodies during late summer around the lower half of America. People visit the fresh waters and kick up the amoeba from the bottom, which enters a human through the nose. The amoeba travels into the brain and starts living on it. For an amoeba, the brain is a perfect habitat to live their lives; the brain is warm, wet, and it provides lots of food. 

Usually, the amoeba uses their pseudopods to break a brain cell’s membrane, and eats the contents inside. They have a special defense system called the cyst, which is like an outer skin layer. When a human’s white blood cells come to kill off the amoeba by surrounding it, the amoeba simply creates a cyst and sheds it later on, leaving the white blood cells on the “shedded skin”. 

For the first few hours, the symptoms are not so serious: headaches, vomiting, nausea, and fever. But after a few days, it could lead to hallucination or convulsion. When an amoeba enters one, he/she has a 3% chance of living through this disease. Otherwise, they only have around five days to live. According to the CDC, 145 people were infected from 1962 to 2018 and only four survived. Despite its great death numbers, this disease is very rare to catch. From 2005 to 2014, there were only 35 people who caught the disease nationwide. Compared to millions and millions of people who visit fresh waters, 35 people is a very few number. 

To prevent from getting this disease, medics recommend avoiding freshwater bodies, or wearing nose plugs while swimming. 

“Naegleria fowleri – Brain-eating amoeba.”YouTube uploaded by Ricky Doan 5 Nov 2012

Categories: Clinical