Brain-Eating Amoeba Creates Panic in Texas, Governor Issues Disaster Declaration After Minor Dies of Naegleria Fowleri Infection; Know All About It

The detection of a brain-eating amoeba in local water supplies has triggered panic and fear in Texas.

September 30, 2020


2 min


Austin, September 29: The detection of a brain-eating amoeba in local water supplies has triggered panic and fear in Texas. Authorities in Texas have asked residents . Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, has issued a disaster declaration after a six-year-old boy died of an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri –  a microscopic single-celled living amoeba that “destroys the brain tissue and is usually fatal”.

Authorities found traces of Naegleria fowleri in the tap of the garden hose at the boy’s house in the town of Lake Jackson in Brazoria county. Traces were also found in a fountain in the town centre and in a fire hydrant. Subsequently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration, which allows authorities to use extra state resources in the wake of an emergency.

In July,  after which authorities asked residents to avoid nasal contact with warm water.

What is Naegleria fowleri, Brain-Eating Amoeba?

Commonly found in warm freshwaters such as lakes, rivers, hot springs, water heaters and swimming pools that are not properly chlorinated, Naegleria fowleri enters the body through the nose. According to the Florida health department, the infection doesn’t spread from person to person contact and will not occur as a result of drinking contaminated water. Although Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in the environment, infection occurs rarely.

However, this disease has public health importance because of its high fatality rate. Only four persons out of 143 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2016 have survived. Those infected with the brain-eating amoeba display symptoms including fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headaches. Most die within two weeks.

Naegleria fowleri grows at temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The only known way to prevent Naegleria fowleri infections is to refrain from water-related activities and avoid nasal contact with warm fresh water, hot springs, and thermally-polluted water.

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