Naegleria Fowleri

A brain eating amoeba the mainly affects the Nervous system

What Is It?

Naegleria Fowleri is a brain eating amoeba that affects the Nervous and Immune system. It causes some symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, delirium, and hallucinations.

How it gets into / affects the body

The bacteria enters the body when infected water goes the person's nose. After it gets into the body it attaches itself to the brain and starts eating it away. When the bacteria gets into the brain, the brain sends immune cells to fight the bacteria. The immune cells cause the surrounding area to become inflamed and swollen. The swelling is what kills most of the victims not the bacteria itself.

Who is most likely to get it?

Naegleria Fowleri usually affects children and young adults. Since 1962 there have been 128 cases in the United States, with only three survivors. Of the 128 cases over three quarters have been in males. Naegleria Fowleri affects both male and females in the same way.
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How A Tiny Amoeba Can Eat Your Brain

How do I know if I have it?

The reason Naegleria Fowleri is so deadly is because it doesn't show any signs or symptoms until it's too late. There is one main way that scientists can find out if you have the bacteria in your body. They would add a sample of CSF (brain juices) to a growth plate covered in bacteria that would act as food for Naegleria Fowleri. The growth plate is heated up to 108 degrees killing all bacteria. Since the Naegleria is a heat loving bacteria it would be the only remaining bacteria on the growth plate.

Signs & Symptoms

Naegleria Fowleri has two sets of symptoms. When the bacteria first starts eating the brain (1 day to 1 week) , it causes primary amoebic meningoencephilitis or PAM. PAM is a rare but deadly disease that causes the first symptoms, vomiting, nausea, headache, and still neck. After those symptoms, the more intense symptoms start. They include delirium, hallucinations, confusion and seizures.

Can it be cured?

There is no official treatment for the bacteria. The only tested drug that has worked on a few patients is called miltefosine. It was originally used as a drug to help fight cancer.

Prognosis/Mortality

If the amoeba is not caught soon enough it can cause death within 5-12 days. But if it is caught soon enough it can be stopped before anything gets worse.