Microscopic Threat Kills Third Swimmer In Two Months
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Microscopic Threat Kills Third Swimmer In Two Months

Forget alligators or even snakes, this microscopic threat can kill you before you even know it. We're talking about a brain-eating amoeba, which claimed its third victim this summer.

In India, a 14-year-old boy after contracting a brain-eating amoeba. He was bathing in a pond in Kozhikode, Kerala when he picked up the infection. A short time later, the boy wound up in the hospital, but doctors were unable to save his life. His death is the third in less than two months. In May, a 5-year-old girl from Malappuram died. In June, a 13-year-old Kannur girl also died.

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The microscopic threat called Naegleria fowleri finds entrance through people's noses. It then finds its way people's brains where it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The swelling of the brain proves fatal in a lot of cases. In fact, so far, the microscopic threat kills 97% of the time. Victims die just a week later. In North America, there's been only five survivors of the microscopic threat.

In particular, the amoeba thrives in warmer bodies of water. It's something you want to consider.

Microscopic Threat Is Deadly

"It's one of those three major organisms that you never want to come in contact with, if possible. It's in the category of Ebola and rabies," said Donna Tyungu, the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at OU Children's Hospital. "It will get into the sinuses, and then it will kind of crawl up into the brain, and it really likes our brains. So it will actually cause a lot of damage."

After their daughter Beth Knight died from the microscopic threat, one Oklahoma family is warning about the dangers of the organism. They established the Beth Smiles Amoeba Awareness Campaign.

"Don't ever say, 'It won't ever happen to me,' because that's what we said," said Mike McKown, Knight's father. "From the time she was exposed to the lake water to the time she passed away was less than six days."

They also shared this message.

"The Mckown family says they don't want to scare anyone from enjoying the lakes...but they want to make sure everyone is equipped with the knowledge to prevent this deadly amoeba," they said. "Any time water gets into the nasal passages, the amoeba can gain entrance into the brain / We always recommend trying not to go into the shallow end of the lakes. But the deeper and always, always, always wear nasal plugs or nose plugs / keeping your head above water at all times."