MEDIA CONTACTJeff Powell, (402) 471-6223,firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln, Neb. –A Nebraska resident is suspected to have died from infection with Naegleria fowleri, commonly referred to as a brain-eating amoeba. The resident most likely acquired the infection while swimming in the Elkhorn River, shortly before illness. If confirmed, it is the first known death from Naegleria fowleri in Nebraska's history.
Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that is commonly found in warm freshwater lakes, rivers, canals, and ponds throughout the United States. It can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that may result when water containing the amoeba rushes up the nose and reaches the brain. The infection is extremely rare, but nearly always fatal.
“Millions of recreational water exposures occur each year, while only 0 to 8 Naegleria fowleri infections are identified each year. Infections typically occur later in the summer, in warmer water with slower flow, in July, August, and September. Cases are more frequently identified in southern states but more recently have been identified farther north. Limiting the opportunities for freshwater to get into the nose are the best ways to reduce the risk of infection," said State Epidemiologist, Dr. Matthew Donahue.
In general, the CDC does not recommend testing untreated rivers and lakes for Naegleria fowleri because the ameba is naturally occurring and there is no established relationship between detection or concentration of Naegleria fowleri and risk of infection.
Other information and preventative measures:
For more information regarding naegleria fowleri, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/general.html