Live Science – A man in North Carolina died from a rare “brain-eating” amoeba infection after swimming in a lake at a local water park.
The 59-year-old man became ill after visiting Fantasy Lake Water Park, a man-made lake near Fayetteville, on July 12.
The man tested positive for Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism that’s naturally found in warm freshwater, such as lakes and rivers..
In the U.S., most infections occur in southern states, particularly during the summer months after it has been hot for prolonged periods, which raises the water temperature, NCDHH said.
Swallowing Naegleria fowleri in water will not cause an infection. But if water containing this amoeba goes up the nose, the organism can enter the brain and be fatal — the amoeba destroys brain tissue, which results in brain swelling and usually death.
Still, infections are extremely rare. From 1962 to 2018, there were just 145 cases of Naegleria fowleri reported in the U.S., according to NCDHH. But the illness has a high fatality rate — of the 145 cases, just 4 people survived.
“Our sympathies are with the family and loved ones,” epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said in the statement. “People should be aware that this organism is present in warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs … Read more.