While we hear stories of someone having ended up with some kind of brain-eating amoeba from time to time most people do not think much about it. Overall most people actually tend to think it’s not even a thing but I can assure you, this does happen, and it seems to be happening in more places here in the US than you’d expect.
According to a newer study, it seems these kinds of interesting infections are happening more and more in places you’d consider as northern states seems to be the result of climate change. While for the most part, this kind of thing tends to stay in the southern parts of the US, it’s not impossible to face it elsewhere. I know, it sounds crazy but stay with me.
This newer study was published not too long ago in the journal Emerging Infections Diseases and for this study, researchers looked at cases across the US of something known as N. Fowleri, this being the ‘brain-eating’ amoeba. This kind of thing isn’t something you find everywhere, but it can end up in lakes, ponds, rivers, and other things of the sort. For those who might not know, this amoeba is a ‘free-living microscopic ameba’ this being one that can infect the brain and well, essentially ‘eat’ away at it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s rare for things to get that far but when it comes to this organism, things can be quite deadly. It will enter your body through the nose more often than not and from there travel to the mind of the person it is within causing something known as PAM which stands for primary amebic meningoencephalitis. This isn’t something anyone wants to have to go through.
The abstract for this study goes as follows:
Naegleria fowleri is a free-living ameba that causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a rare but usually fatal disease. We analyzed trends in recreational water exposures associated with PAM cases reported during 1978–2018 in the United States. Although PAM incidence remained stable, the geographic range of exposure locations expanded northward.
Basically through their research, the people working on this study were able to find that rises in cases in the Midwest areas happened around 2010. This something that seemed to coincide with climate change issues that were becoming more and more present. Sure, more research needs to be done but it is quite interesting to break down and go over.
The higher temperatures some places face the more potential there is for this kind of thing to happen. That being said, we should be glad the actual number of cases in itself isn’t going up for the most part. We are seeing the same number of cases within reason but just from different areas that you might not typically expect.
What do you think about all of this? I for one think it’s quite scary. While treatment is present, the idea of something ‘feeding’ on my brain is enough to make my skin crawl.