Brain-Eating Amoeba Causes Closure At Texas Water Resort, But How Likely Is It You Will Become Infected?
After Fabrizio Stabile of New Jersey died from contracting a brain-eating amoeba at Waco’s BSR Cable Park, the park voluntarily closed while tests were conducted on the water in the park.
The 29-year-old man had visited the surf resort park on September 8 and became ill on September 14, according to CNN. The brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, managed to travel into Stabile’s brain, causing a brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (also known by the abbreviated name, PAM).
As panic rises, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a statement on the matter to help alleviate concerns from the general public.
“There have been no reports of other illnesses, and Naegleria fowleri infection does not spread from person to person,” Brittany Behm, a spokeswoman at the CDC, revealed in an email.
“CDC is testing water samples for Naegleria fowleri and will be working with the local and state health departments on recommendations to provide the facility on how to reduce potential exposures.”
As previously stated by the Inquisitr, this brain-eating amoeba has a fatality rate of 97 percent. But how likely are you to actually contract it?
According to Wired, while the brain-eating amoeba might have a high mortality rate, it is actually extremely hard to contract.
For starters, the Naegleria fowleri likes a warm environment.
“Naegleria doesn’t like the cold, so we ship our water samples at room temperature,” said Mattioli after taking samples from the surf resort.
Stabile first showed symptoms in New Jersey, making it a first for the state since the amoeba prefers the warmer climate of the southern states. However, it was able to survive even though Stabile had moved out of the preferred location of states such as Texas and into the cooler clime of New Jersey. This could indicate a concern for those who fear the spread of the brain-eating amoeba.
However, the amoeba cannot be passed from person to person. So, those concerned with a potential outbreak in New Jersey now can rest assured this will not likely happen.
“The public health message we’ve been stressing in New Jersey is that you can’t transmit PAM from person to person,” says state epidemiologist Tina Tran, who dealt with Stabile’s case.
CNN states that “since 1962, the CDC has recorded just 143 case reports—an average of fewer than three victims a year, though all but four have perished.”
However, according to the CDC, there could be some evidence to suggest that cases of PAM might be underdiagnosed. This has led to the possibility that the mortality rate might be as high as 16 U.S. citizens per year.
As for how one manages to contract the deadly amoeba, Wired states that it is very hard to contract it. In fact, you could probably drink the water at the surf resort where Stabile contracted Naegleria fowleri and not pick up the dangerous amoeba.
In addition, it is very hard to actually contract the amoeba from swimming. In order to be infected by Naegleria fowleri, an event that forces water up into your nasal passages would have to occur. Once this occurs, the amoeba must take “foothold on the mucous membrane lining the nasal cavity.” It is then required to migrate along the olfactory nerves before finding a home in the victim’s brain.