Naegleria Fowleri

Naegleria is a free-living ameba (a single-celled living organism). It is so small that it can only be seen with a microscope. It is commonly found in warm fresh water (such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Only one species of Naegleria infects people: Naegleria fowleri.

naegleria for swimming

Facts and FAQs

  • Untreated geothermal (naturally hot) drinking water sources
  • Warm fresh water, such as lakes and rivers.
  • Geothermal (naturally hot) water, such as hot springs
  • Warm water discharge from industrial or power plants
  • Soil, including sediment at the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers
  • Swimming pools, splash pads, surf parks, or other recreational venues that are poorly maintained or don’t have chlorine in them(Like farmhouse pool and Village Tubewell )
  • Your house water tanks as it stays warm in summers.

Naegleria fowleri is not found in salt water, like the ocean.

No. You cannot get a Naegleria fowleri infection from a properly cleaned, maintained, and disinfected swimming pool. In very rare instances, Naegleria fowleri has been found in swimming pools, splash pads, surf parks, or other recreational venues that are poorly maintained or don’t have enough chlorine in them.

The risk of Naegleria fowleri infection is very low. There were 29 reported infections in the United States in the 10 years from 2013 to 2022, despite millions of recreational water exposures each year. By comparison, in the 10 years from 2011 to 2020, there were an estimated 4,012 unintentional drowning deaths each year in the United States.

And if we talk about Pakistan, total 6 deaths has been reported so far in last 10 years. 5 from Karachi and 1 from Lahore.

You can take the water sample to the lab nearby. It is Microscopic organism that can be easily shown in lab.

No. Naegleria fowleri infection cannot be spread from one person to another.

Naegleria fowleri occurs naturally in freshwater bodies, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs, and in soil. The amebae are more likely to live in sediment at the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers, so people should avoid digging in, or stirring up the sediment in shallow, warm fresh water. Though the risk is low, people should always assume there is a risk for infection whenever entering warm fresh water.

Infection with PAM is rare. The early symptoms of PAM are similar to those caused by other more common illnesses, such as bacterial meningitis. People should seek medical care immediately whenever they develop a sudden onset of fever, headache, vomiting, or stiff neck, particularly if they have been in warm fresh water recently.

  • Don’t take water inside your nose.
  • Although its very rare but avoid going into farmhouse swimming pools which are usually not chlorinated.
  • Avoid to swimming in natural warm water lakes. Cold lakes and ocean salty water is fine.
  • If you want to swim in the pool make sure it is properly chlorinated as it is not possible that virus stay in chlorinated water.
  • Avoid digging in or stirring up sediment surrounding warm, fresh water.
  • Clean your house water tanks at least twice a year and use chlorine tablets monthly. You can’t be infected by swallowing infected water.

Common symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck. Later symptoms include confusion, lack of attention, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations. Once the Naegleria fowleri ameba causes infection, the illness progresses rapidly


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