Swimming? In a Lake? I Don’t Think So

A Kansas resident died last week from what was likely a rare infection by a brain-eating amoeba, after swimming in a lake in August, according to state health officials.  It is the fourth death this summer linked to the parasite, which is found in stagnant warm water.  The person likely picked up the infection while swimming in Winfield City Lake in Cowley County, ABC affiliate KAKE-TV in Wichita reported..  The Sedgwick County resident entered the hospital on Aug. 19 with headaches and developed breathing problems, and died five days later, according to the Kansas City Star reported.

Very, very sad.  And also a very good warning against swimming in stagnant water.

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2 thoughts on “Swimming? In a Lake? I Don’t Think So

  1. Chuck Grantham 10 Sep 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Swim in a river. The bull sharks need the change of menu.

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  2. Helane Shields 11 Sep 2011 at 1:25 pm

    In summer 2011, the brain eating parasite Naegleria fowleri (N. fowleri), killed four victims, one each in Kanas, Virginia, Florida and Louisiana.

    Naegleria fowleri, is a brain eating amoeba which is found in sewage and sewage sludge biosolids. (Bose, Ghosh, 1990; DeJonkheere, 1977; Visvesvara, et al 1990; Thomas Sawyer, 1989; Singh & Das 1972; US EPA, 2003; CDC; Joel Griffin, 2007,Canada PSDS 2011, etc.)

    This protozoa infests soils, thermal waters and sediments in warm shallow waters which are subject to runoff from land applied sewage and sewage sludge biosolids. Victims inhale the parasite up their nose where it travels to their brain and kills them.

    Per CDC, between 2001 and 2010 there were 32 deaths in the US from N. fowleri. 46 percent of Florida Lakes were found to contain N. fowleri. Between 1983 and 2010, Texas reports 28 N. fowleri deaths.

    There were seven victims in summer 2007, all young males between the ages of 10 and 22

    CDC reported 23 cases of the condition between 1995 and 2004.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledge many cases of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAN) – caused by Naegleria Fowleri– have been misdiagnosed as meningitis, pneumonia, bacteremia, various encephalitis infections, etc. A spinal tap and autopsy are essential for accurate diagnosis.

    Brain infections take many young lives each year. How many misdiagnosed victims of brain infections have actually died from inhaling the
    the brain eating amoeba N. fowleri in sewage sludge biosolids runoff to warm, shallow surface waters ? Why don’t the US EPA and CDC warn the public of this health risk from exposure to sewage and sewage sludge biosolids runoff to surface waters ?

    Helane Shields, Alton, NH

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