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Swim Above Water was formed to initiate conversation and awareness in our community about Naegleria Fowleri, a free living microscopic amoeba and the infection It causes called Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). Our goal is to educate you on the risks associated with freshwater activities and how to prevent exposure to this deadly amoeba.
Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as the "brain-eating amoeba" or "brain-eating ameba"), is a free-living microscopic amoeba (single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil.
Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers.
In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tapwater) enters the nose, for example when using sinus rinse devices, such as neti-pots.
The fatality rate is over 99%. Only 2 people in the U.S. and 1 person in Mexico have survived of the 128 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2012. It is however, very easily prevented. Continue on with our site to find out how to prevent this deadly infection.
A Single Swim by Kristina Circelli
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