NAEGLERIA INFECTION - Overview, Facts,Types&Symptoms, Medication


Naegleria infection is caused by an amoeba commonly found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and hot springs. This is a rare brain infection and is usually fatal, with exposures occurring during swimming or other water sports.

Naegleria fowleri, the amoeba causing infection, travels through the nose up to the brain where it causes damage, and the severe injury caused by this amoeba can cause a person to die within a week.

Even though several people are always exposed to the amoeba, causing infection, they rarely get sick. More than that, the reason as to why some are infected while others do not is still unclear to the experts.

The most effective way to mitigate the risk of this infection is to avoid warm bodies of freshwater and nose clips when submerged in the water.


Naegleria infections cause amebic meningoencephalitis, a kind of disease that causes brain inflammation and brain tissue destruction. Within 15 days of exposure, symptoms may start to occur and may include:

  • Changes in the sense of smell or taste
  • Fever
  • Instantaneous and severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Light sensitivity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Sleepiness
  • Seizure
  • Hallucination

The following signs and symptoms can evolve instantly and can ultimately lead to death within a week.


Naegleria infections are caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri commonly found plaguing warm bodies of freshwater regularly during the summer, and they can sometimes be found in soil.

For the amoeba to enter your body, it passes through your nose by contaminated water or dust, and it travels through the nerves that are responsible for your sense of smell and ends up in your brain.

There is no known reason why some people can be affected by Naegleria fowleri through the exposure of it while some are not. Moreover, this amoeba is not a contagious infection that can be passed on from person to person or when drinking contaminated water. It is also unlikely that a properly maintained swimming pool is vulnerable to naegleria amoeba.


From 2007 to 2017, 40 infections have been recorded in the United States, even though millions are exposed continuously to the amoeba, causing naegleria. Some factors that increase your risk of getting infection include;

Freshwater swimming wherein most people got sick within two weeks after the exposure;

Heatwaves such as warm or hot water where amoeba can thrive; and

Your age, such as children and young adults being the most exposed age group because of their likelihood to stay submerged in the water longer and are more active in the water.


The following are measures suggested by the CDS to reduce the risk of naegleria infection effectively;

  • Avoid swimming or jumping into warm freshwater lakes and rivers.
  • Shut or use nose clips when jumping or diving into warm bodies of water.
  • Do not disturb the sediment while swimming in shallow, warm freshwater.

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