Florida health officials reported over 4th of July weekend that someone was infected through Naegleria fowleri, the so-called brain-eating amoeba. Although situations of this rare disease are surprising, the reality that it taken place in Florida is much less so.

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Along with Texas, Florida leader the united state in cases of brain-eating amoeba infection. Going ago to 1962, more than half of every reported cases have come from these 2 states, per CDC data.

What is a brain-eating amoeba, and also why walk it like these southerly US states?

What Is a Brain-Eating Amoeba?

N. Fowleri it s okay its nickname since of how it behaves, describes audioeditorfree.com medical author Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD, a microbiology specialist.

First, the amoebas penetrate the mucus membrane separating your sinuses from her skull, that said. As soon as there, they monitor the olfactory nerves that aid in your sense of smell. This nerves expand through feet in bone directly to your brain, which the amoebas usage to access the brain.

Once within the brain, these microorganisms both destroy and also devour the mind itself, Dr. Davis said.

This is really deadly infection. According to CDC data, 97% the reported situations are fatal. But fortunately, that is additionally extremely rare, with no much more than eight instances reported in any kind of given year in the US.

Three out of four instances occur in males, and boys in between the ages of 10 and 14 space the most common targets, though the condition can infect anyone, according to the CDC.

Why execute Brain-Eating Amoebas prefer Florida and also Texas?

The reason these infections tend to show up in Florida and also Texas partly has to do through their wanted environments. The CDC describes N. Fowleri together a “heat-loving organism.”

When the weather warms up, this amoeba grows many quickly, and can grow rapidly at temperatures approximately 115 F.

You might guess the warm Gulf waters would tempt these heat-loving amoebas, yet in reality N. Fowleri can’t make it through in the ocean. That most frequently infects world in lakes, ponds, and also man-made reservoirs.

Florida has actually over 5,500 registered lakes. And Texas has actually hundreds of lakes, significant reservoirs, and river basins. Numerous of these come to be inviting spots because that water recreation in the summer months from July with September, i beg your pardon is the time when many brain-eating amoeba infections occur.

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But these infections aren’t minimal to Florida and Texas. Warm weather patterns have actually led come brain-eating amoeba epidemic as much north together Minnesota, although this are far less common.

How Do world Get Brain-Eating Amoeba Infections?

Certain behaviors are thought to put human being at better risk the infection. audioeditorfree.com medical writer Sandra Gonzalez Gompf, MD, FACP describes some of this activities:

"Activities the pose a risk include submerging the head, jumping feet first, diving, and also sports that pull a human behind a boat, prefer wakeboarding, tubing, and water skiing."

Dr. Davis recommends the complying with to assist minimize your threat of infection:

Avoid jumping or diving into this kind of water.Wear a sleep clip or hold your nose if you jump or dive into fairly warm water lakes, rivers, pools or other similar bodies that water.
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