WICHITA FALLS - North Texas residents and visitors are advised to use extreme caution when visiting area lakes and waterways throughout the summer, because of an existence of a deadly parasite living in these bodies of water. The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is microscopic and thrives in freshwater lakes and waterways when temperatures rise and water levels drop.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the parasite invades the central nervous system through the nose, moves to the brain and begins destroying cells.
Treatment for the infection has proven ineffective with a survival rate of 1%. The illness has killed 128 people in ten states in the U.S. since 1937.
Symptoms of the infection begin one to 14 days after exposure and include;
- Stiff neck
- Changes in smell and taste.
Death usually occurs within seven to fourteen days.