Last week, a person was hospitalized after swimming in Lake Murray, Oklahoma Department of Health Officials said.
- The victim died in Oklahoma City hospital, Wednesday.
- Health Officials warns lake goers about deadly amoeba that is positive in Lake Murray.
According to Health officials, the victim died due to Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, also known as PAM. It is an extremely rare and usually deadly disease caused by infection with a single-celled organism known as Naegleria fowleri.
Naegleria fowleri is a species of Naegleria, belonging to the phylum Percolozoa. It is a free-living pathogenic protist that causes the disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis also known as Naegleriasis.
This organism is typically found in bodies of warm freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers, and hot springs. It is also found in the soil, near warm-water discharges of industrial plants, and in poorly or un-chlorinated swimming pools, in an amoeboid or temporary flagellate stage. There is no evidence of N. fowleri living in salt water.
Naegleria fowleri amoeba is found in warm freshwater ponds lakes and rivers, and in the very warm water of hot springs. It was first discovered in 1965, and first identified in Australia. N. fowleri occurs in three forms – as a cyst, a trophozoite (ameboid) and a flagellate. It does not form a cyst in human tissue. Only the amoeboid trophozoite stage exists in human tissue. The flagellate form can exist in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Naegleria fowleri amoeba can cause a highly lethal infection of the brain called naegleriasis, primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), amebic encephalitis or Naegleria infection. Infections can occur when water containing N. fowleri is breathed in through the nose, where it then invades through nasal tissue and olfactory nerve tissue to enter the brain. Though, coined with the term ‘Brain Eating Amoeba’, the patient dies more due to the complications of acute inflammatory reaction (raised intracranial pressure) than the destructive enzymes secreted by N. fowleri.
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department confirmed the person was camping at the Ski Jump campground. This is the second case and death due to Naegleria fowleri amoeba in the US this year. A 21-year-old Inyo County, California woman died from the Naegleria fowleri amoeba in June.
Persons may be exposed to Naegleria fowleri amoeba when they dive or submerge their head in contaminated water. The Naegleria fowleri amoeba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue. Experts say swimmers should take precautions to keep water out of their nose when swimming in unchlorinated bodies of water. Avoid forcing water up the nose when in bodies of fresh water, hold your nose or use nose plugs when jumping or diving into water, never swim in stagnant water, water that is cloudy and green, water that has mats of algae or water that has a foul odor, do not swim in areas posted as “No Swimming.”and avoid swallowing water from rivers, lakes, streams, or stock ponds.
Symptoms of Naegleria fowleri amoeba include high fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. Later, symptoms may include stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations and coma. Naegleria fowleri amoeba cannot be spread from person-to-person. Swimming in properly maintained pools prevents Naegleria fowleri amoeba because chlorine rapidly kills the amoeba.IMAGE/Ronnie w/ OutdoorsOK