Health officials confirm there’s no case of brain-eating amoeba at Lake Havasu

Muere residente de Georgia por infección provocada por la “ameba come cerebros”
Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater and soil.(Source: CDC)
Published: Oct. 25, 2023 at 2:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed on Wednesday that a person feared to have a brain-eating amoeba in Mohave County doesn’t have it. AZDHS’ Eugene Livar told Arizona’s Family the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control found the specimens tested negative for Naegleria fowleri.

On Tuesday, the department said it was working with the CDC to test for possible exposure. The investigation looked at possible exposures and places where the exposure may have occurred. ADHS said it may have been at the state park at Lake Havasu.

According to the CDC, people can get brain-eating amoeba when the amoeba, a single-celled living organism, gets into the body through the nose, usually when they are swimming and diving in fresh water, like lakes and rivers.

Livar said infections of brain-eating amoeba are very rare, with only 29 reported in the United States between 2013 and 2022. The last confirmed case in Mohave County was in 2007, when someone got it at Lake Havasu. However, if someone does get infected, there is a 97% fatality rate. The symptoms appear as common effects like headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting, according to the CDPC.

Some scientists think infections could increase in the future as the climate gets warmer and warmer. “This is definitely a concern,“ Dr. Wassim Ballan, an infectious disease specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said in July, “as are a lot of other infectious diseases. We are probably going to see a change in trends because of the climate changing and the temperatures rising. So there is a lot of concern in the infectious disease community about a lot of different infections, including amoebic infections becoming more common as the climate is warming.”

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