Drought Increases Risk Of Deadly Disease In Lakes - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Drought Increases Risk Of Deadly Disease In Lakes

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It's a killer living in the water that strikes without you being able to see it.

Amoeba is a waterborne disease that lives in our rivers, lakes and ponds. If you get it, you have a 1% chance of surviving and health officials said amoeba could become a bigger threat during this drought.

"Amoebas flourish in higher temperatures especially during the months of July, August and September and with the lower lake levels you're going to have higher concentrations," said Leslie Gresham, an epidemiologist for the Wichita County Public Health District.

Gresham said this infection is not something you can get by just being in the water.

"It has to be entered through the nose and usually at force so it's going to be something like if you're diving or jumping into the water and once it enters into the nasal passages it will migrate into the brain," said Gresham.

Once that happens the symptoms will kick in. The symptoms include headaches, fever, stiff neck, nausea, hallucinations and even seizures. Then the person will most likely die within 12 days. But good news is the disease is preventable.

"The amoebas tend to feed of the sediments in the lakes so you want to decrease starting up the sediments," said the epidemiologist.

Health officials recommend never going into warm stagnant water. Avoid submerging your head in lakes and rivers and if you do, hold your nose or wear nose clips.

It's important to know that amoeba could live in swimming pools that are not properly cleaned, maintained and treated with chlorine and filtration.

 

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6