Brain-Eating Amoeba Contamination In Texas River Kills Three People

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald August 01, 04:00 am

Three people in Texas so far have died after acquiring a brain-eating amoeba from Harris County's Trinity River. All three fatalities were exposed to the brain-eating amoeba while they were swimming in the river, with the organism travelling up their noses and into their brains.

Brain-Eating Amoeba In Texas

The recent death was a 19-year-old Houston resident, who swam in the river earlier in July, KWTX reported. Two individuals in Texas have also died in the past 12 months after being exposed to the brain-eating amoeba.

Resident Dale Johnson, who lives near the Trinity River, told KWTX that he doesn't swim in the river, but he usually sees big groups of children doing so. Johnson said "there might be 30 or 40 of them at a time," adding that the water's brain-eating amoeba contamination makes him anxious for other people's welfare, especially young children.

Last year, three residents in Texas have died after acquiring the brain-eating amoeba (two in July and one in August). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state has seen a total of nine cases that involved the harmful amoeba since 2005, with eight of them fatal.

The brain-eating amoeba or naegleria fowleri causes meningoencephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and the cerebral tissue that covers it. The infection is rare but is almost always fatal, with death occurring within five to 18 days. Symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, and headache, the CDC listed.

The organism can be found all over the world, but it's naturally found in warm freshwater lakes and rivers, hot springs, naturally-hot drinking water sources, and swimming pools with poor maintenance and without chlorination, The Weather Network listed.

The brain-eating amoeba thrives in the months of July, August, and September due to the warm weather. The organism, however, has low survival rates in salt water and in cooler waters.

Other Brain-Eating Amoeba Sightings

Texas' Trinity River isn't the only body of water where the brain-eating amoeba was found. Health officials also recently discovered the organism in the Rio Grande River that is situated along Texas' border with Mexico.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza told Breitbart Texas that a Mexican sewage plant dumps "unregulated amounts" of sewage (waste water and excrement) into the river. In June, eighteen-year-old Lauren Seitz of Ohio died due to exposure to the brain-eating amoeba in the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The rafting and kayaking center has since admitted that its faulty sanitation system encouraged the growth of waterborne illnesses.

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