Wichita Falls, TX city and county officials reminded the public, as we head into summer, about protecting yourself and your children from the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri.
The City of Wichita Falls Public Works Department and the Wichita Falls – Wichita County Public Health District are once again teaming up to caution citizens who will be swimming in area lakes and rivers during the warm summer months about the possible presence of Naegleria fowleri and how to protect their children this summer from a highly preventable waterborne disease.
Naegleria fowleri is found in all natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, tanks and stream. During the warm summer months of June, July and August, the amoeba can infect children by being forcibly injected into their sinus cavity during recreational activities. Once in the sinus, the amoeba can cause the fatal disease Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). While contact with the amoeba in natural bodies of water is common, infection is rare due primarily to the only route of infection being through the nose.
Two key precautions that citizens can take to help protect their children include:
- Never recreate in warm, muddy, stagnant waters.
- Teach children to hold their nose or use nose clips when recreating in any natural water body. Especially when the type of recreation can force water into the nose, such as skiing, jet skiing, jumping or diving.
If your child starts to experience any of the following symptoms within a couple of days of recreating in a natural body of water, contact your health care provider immediately: headache, fever, nausea and/or vomiting, stiff neck, loss of balance, disorientation, hallucinations or seizures.
The amoeba does not live in swimming pools and hot tubs that are properly cleaned, maintained and treated with chlorine and filtration.
- Naegleria fowleri: Study on death estimates, treatment success and the northward expansion of infections
- Naegleria fowleri: An interview with Dr Jennifer Cope
- Naegleria fowleri drug research: An interview with Dennis Kyle, PhD
- ‘Monsters Inside Me’ to feature the Kyle Lewis story
- Outbreak News Radio: Naegleria fowleri and amoeba awareness: Personal stories and the great work from ‘Kyle Cares’ and ‘Swim Above Water’