The Return of the Killer Amoeba
It is exceedingly rare for dangerous pathogens to strike common lakes and watering holes, but stories like this one do seem to surface periodically. The most recent case involves a young girl in Kansas whose exposure may have occurred at any number of local swimming spots.
The infection was swift and, as with another recent case, fatal. Dubbed primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, it is worth mentioning on this sinus medicine blog because the path of the infection typically travels through the sinuses:
The amoebic parasite travels through a person’s sinus cavities and infects the blood stream and central nervous system, Hunt said. Symptoms of PAM include severe headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, hallucinations and seizures.
Although it may sound terrifying, infections such as these are extremely uncommon. The best advice from experts in the area applies just as well here in California and across the country:
Swimmers should use nose clips and avoid swallowing water while swimming, Hunt said. The release advised swimmers to stay away from bodies of water with warm temperatures and avoid kicking up sediment, which could be swallowed.