Low Water Levels Have Health Experts Warning of Deadly Amoeba

In 1998, two Texoma boys died after contracting a disease, caused by the deadly Naegleria fowleri ameba, while swimming, one at Lake Arrowhead and the other in the Brazos River.

And with the area experiencing much lower than normal lake and river levels now, during the swimming season, we should all beware of the parasite that thrives in warm, stagnant water and kills.

Health experts say it can invade a child's central nervous system through the nose during recreational activities, like skiing, jet skiing, tubing, or jumping and diving.

It moves to the brain and begins destroying cells and the survival rate is about one percent.

Symptoms include headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, and seizures. Other indicators might be disorientation and loss of balance, even hallucinations and changes in smell and taste.

These symptoms can show up within a day or as far out as two weeks.

The two best ways to protect your children are:

1. Never recreate in warm, stagnant waters.

2. Teach children to hold their nose or use nose clips when recreating in any natural water body especially when skiing, jet skiing, tubing, jumping or diving.

You cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria.

If your child starts to experience any of the following symptoms within a couple of days of being in a natural body of water, contact your health care provider immediately.

For more information on the disease: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/

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