Health officials in Norway are reporting the death of an Oslo woman who contracted the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri while traveling in Thailand, according to a Folkehelseinstituttet report today (computer translated).
The source of infection appears to be daily nasal washing with tap water, health officials note.
Related: Neti Pots, Naegleria And You
Norwegian health authorities remind travelers to always use sterile or boiled water for nasal washing abroad if you are uncertain of the tap water quality. Only use bottled water if you are sure it is distilled or sterile, unless the bottled water has been boiled.
Many people perform ritual nasal rinsing. This practice is included in Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Islamic traditions. Within the Islamic faith, ritual nasal rinsing is included in a cleansing process called “wudu” or “ablution.” It is usually performed several times a day in preparation for prayer.
Pakistan reported some 12 cases of Naegleria fowleri in 2014, some were attributed to ritual nasal washing.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Naegleria fowleri is found around the world.
The amoeba can be found in bodies of warm freshwater, such as lakes and rivers, geothermal (naturally hot) water, such as hot springs, warm water discharge from industrial plants, geothermal (naturally hot) drinking water sources, swimming pools that are poorly maintained, minimally-chlorinated, and/or un-chlorinated, water heaters.
Related: Amoeba awareness: Naegleria fowleri
Naegleria fowleri grows best at higher temperatures up to 115°F (46°C) and can survive for short periods at higher temperatures and soil.
Naegleria fowleri is not found in salt water, like the ocean. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page
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