Research, Technology

Brain-eating amoebae spread north and infect more people

Amoeba Naegleria fowleri called the perfectkiller. If it enters the human body, it immediately begins to eat the brain, while there was practically no way to stop it until the last moment. Previously, this amoeba infected people in the southern states of the United States, and cases of infection were quite rare. However, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of infections. Moreover, the dangerous amoeba began to expand its habitat to the north. According to US health officials, amoebas are becoming a serious problem even for the northern states. According to experts, the reason for the spread of Naegleria fowleri is global warming. This means that the area of ​​their habitat will expand further.

Amoeba Naegleria fowleri eats human brain when infected

Deadly amoeba - another threat of global warming

Naegleria fowleri isunicellular organism. As a rule, the amoeba lives in the soil and warm fresh water. She also sometimes settles in water heaters and even water pipes. The good news is that an amoeba cannot enter the brain if a person swallows it with water. In addition, it is not transmitted from person to person.

Infection occurs when Naegleria fowlerienters the nose, from where it is easy for her to get to the brain. As we said earlier, in 2019, a 59-year-old resident of the United States and a 15-year-old boy died after swimming in the lake. Theoretically, a person can become infected even after bathing in the shower or bath if the amoeba settles in the water heater or pipes.

Amoeba Naegleria fowleri lives in warm lakes

Penetrating into the brain, amoeba causes primary amoebicmeningoencephalitis (MAM), which is almost always fatal. The disease is quite rare - since the beginning of the 60s, no more than eight people have died from it every year. Previously, in almost all cases, infection occurred when swimming in the southern states, especially in Texas and Florida. However, since 2010, cases of infection have become more frequent, and they began to be recorded in much more northern states, such as Minnesota, Kansas, Indiana, etc.

Amoebic inflammation of the brain can be cured

In a recent report by publicOhio Health describes a recent case of a 30-year-old woman who was taken to a hospital in one of the states in an unconscious state. Previously, she complained of severe headache, nausea and confusion. She was initially diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, which is inflammation of the brain caused by bacteria.

However, cerebrospinal fluid samplessurrounding the brain and spinal cord tested negative for bacteria. During a conversation with the woman's husband, doctors learned that a few days ago the family visited a local freshwater lake, where the woman dipped her head in water (symptoms appear 1-12 days after infection with an amoeba).

Naegleria fowleri can even be contracted from tap water

The team of doctors decided that they were to blame for everythingviruses, but the patient's condition continued to deteriorate rapidly. Then the doctors contacted the State Department of Health and the CDC. After analyzing the situation, the CDC assumed that the woman had contracted Naegleria fowleri and prescribed the drug miltefosine, which proved to be highly effective in the laboratory. During testing, it quickly killed N. fowleri and other amoeba species.

After taking the drug, the patient quickly went toamendment. She made a full recovery two weeks later with only minimal neurological damage. This suggests that PAM may be treatable with new therapies. However, the disease needs timely diagnosis so that treatment can begin before the patient's brain is seriously damaged.

Dangerous amoeba enters the brain through the nose

Amoeba infestation requires rapid diagnosis

Health professionals warn doctorsnorthern regions that they should be prepared for cases of PAM infection, even if this has never happened before in their region. As we said above, at some point even the northern regions with a cold climate will face a problem.

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Finally, we recall that in addition to Naegleria fowlerithere is a desentiria amoeba, which is much easier to get infected if you do not follow the rules of hygiene. As a rule, people become infected by eating food, for example, unwashed fruits, and water that contains amoebas. It should also be borne in mind that these amoebas are transmitted from person to person.