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Facts about Naegleria fowleri and primary amebic meningoencephalitis
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  • Corporate Authors:
    National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (U.S.), Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.
  • Description:
    Naegleria fowleri infections are rare and devastating. From 2005 to 2014, 35 infections were reported in the U.S. All but two were fatal.

    • Naegleria fowleri is a warm water-loving ameba found around the world, often in warm or hot freshwater (lakes, rivers, and hot springs).

    • Naegleria fowleri ameba can travel up the nose and into the brain. This causes the disease primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which destroys brain tissue and causes brain swelling and death.

    • Of 133 people known to be infected in the U.S. since 1962, only three people survived.



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