Know Where The ‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba Is Found, How It Enters The Brain, Symptoms

Source: biospace.com

-By Monika Rajput

While the US remains a country severely affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new deadly disease has begun to spread its footing there. Novel Coronavirus cases are continuously growing in the US, meanwhile, the spread of this new disease has increased the concern of scientists, doctors, etc.  It is a microbe that reaches into the human brain and causes harm. This microbe is a ‘brain-eating’ amoeba, which has been found in the south of the US but is rapidly gaining ground in the northern states. Let us know in detail where the ‘brain-eating’ amoeba is found, how it enters the brain, what are its symptoms etc.

What Is ‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba?

Brain-Eating Amoeba is a microbe that can severely damage the brain.  Once it enters the human brain, it starts destroying the brain tissue, which can lead to inflammation.  The scientific name of this brain-eating amoeba is Naegleria fowleri.

Where Is The ‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba Found?

Amoeba is found naturally in rivers, springs, lakes, soil with warm freshwater.  In other states of America, this amoeba has been found due to climate change with an increase in temperature. The amoeba lives in water and temperatures up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the CDC of the United States of America, the disease is now spreading to the states of North America after being found in the south. 

How Do People Become Infected With Brain-Eating Amoeba?

The term “brain-eating amoeba” makes the amoeba sound like a small zombie hitting your skull. But the brain is a casual food for them.

According to the CDC, N. Fowleri normally eats bacteria. But when the amoeba reaches humans, it uses the brain as a source of food.

The nose is the path of the amoeba, so the infection is mostly from performance in diving, water skiing, or water sports in which water is injected into the nose. But the infection has occurred in people who immersed their heads in hot springs or who cleaned their nostrils with neti pots filled with tap water. A person infected with N. fowleri cannot spread the infection to any other person.

 How Is Amoeba Found In The Brain?

 Studies show that N. Fowleri amoeba are attracted by chemicals present in nerve cells used to communicate with each other.  Once in the nose, the amoeba enters the frontal lobe of the brain via the olfactory nerve (the nerve associated with the sense of smell).

How Often Do People Become Infected With Amoeba Eating A Brain?

Even if N.Fowleri amoeba is relatively common, they only rarely cause brain disease. N. Fowleri’s disease is known as PAM.  It occurs from 0 to 8 times a year, almost always from July to September.

It is considered a rare infection. But some cases may go unproven. A study in Virginia looked at more than 16,000 autopsy records of patients who died of meningitis, finding five preceding cases of PAM.

The study suggests that in many people N. Fowleri may contain antibodies.  This suggests that they were infected with amoeba but their immune system shut it down.

It is not clear at all whether N. Fowleri is a rare infection that always causes PAM and is almost always deadly or the more common infection that causes only sometimes PAM.

In a 2009 study, CDC researchers suggested that the common finding of antibodies to amoebae in humans and American waters N. Fowleri consistent finding indicates that “exposure to amoebae is much more common than the incidence of PAM.”

How Long A Brain-Eating Symptoms Of Amoeba Appear?

 For symptoms, N.Fowleri amoeba takes 2 – 15 days after entering the rhinitis. Death occurs 3-7 days after the symptoms appear. The average time to death is 5.3 days from symptomatic onset. Only a handful of patients worldwide are reported to have infections.

Infection Caused By ‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba

An infection caused by ‘brain-eating’ amoeba is primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which is very rare.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the last 10 years, only 34 cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis have occurred.

What Can Be The First Symptom?

Symptoms of PAM are not specific to the disease. At first, PAM can look like viral meningitis.  Symptoms include:

  •  Headache
  • Fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Loss of appetite
  •  Vomiting
  •  Altered mental state
  •  Seizures
  •  Coma

There may also be:

  • Hallucinations
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of the sense of taste.

Is There Any Treatment For Brain-Eating Amoeba?

The correct treatment is not clear. Many drugs kill N. fowleri amoebas in the test tube. But when treated with these drugs, very few patients still survive.

 Ways To Prevent This Infection

As we have told you that Brain-Eating Amoeba in America is found in freshwater lakes, so avoid swimming and diving in the lakes. These amoebas causing fatal diseases may be present in these lakes, rivers. freshwater

Sources:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/brain/brain-eating-amoeba#1

2. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/index.html

3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/after-uk-covid-strain-new-brain-eating-amoeba-rapidly-spreading-in-the-us-heres-all-you-need-to-know/articleshow/79916832.cms

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