February 12th, 2008

Baby Clown, McD

Would you like a side of brain with that?

I don't know about you, but I've always thought of amoebas as being rather harmless.

Well, apparently not.

The brain eating amoeba, aka Naegleria fowleri (we're going to keep calling it the brain eating amoeba because it's much cooler sounding), is found all over the world but is most common in warm, freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers.  Although infection is rare, it occurs most during the dry summer months when the it's hot outside, the water is nice, and people just wanna have fun by taking their boat out and swimming in the lake. 

The brain eating amoeba typically enters the body through the nose while the person is swimming, diving, or engaging in some other water-related summer fun.  It then travels to the spinal cord and up the brain where it rightfully earns it's name by eating the brain.

These amoeba don't waste any time in chowing down.  Symptoms begin to show between 1 to14 days of the infection, and death occurs generally 3 to 7 days after.  Even though 23 cases have only been reported from 1995 to 2004, six cases of infection by the brain eating amoeba were reported last year alone.  Health officials are predicting more infections in the years to come as temperatures rise allowing the amoeba to thrive.  Thanks, Global Warming.