Amoeba Water Warning - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Amoeba Water Warning

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Health officials in Texoma are warning residents of a deadly amoeba that could be nesting in local water areas.

“These are ones you want to chase every day,” said Charles Little, a Wichita Falls resident.

Little spent the day fishing at Lake Arrowhead.  

"I think I got nine crappie, two large mouth bass and a few sand bass,” said Little.

The Naegleria Fowleri, a deadly parasite took the life of a 9-year-old Texoma boy swimming in the lake in 1998.

"This is an amoeba that we see every year in the lakes,” said Mistie Coovert, a Registered Nurse at the Wichita Falls- Wichita County Public Health District.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says since 1962, there have been 31 deaths in the state of Texas.

The small disease is most prevalent during hot summer months, especially in warm or fresh bodies of water.

Coovert said lower than normal lake levels in drought stricken Texoma waters is why the water borne disease is more likely to be present.

“The waters are going to get warmer quicker, because our lakes are lower and this bug is going to start showing up a lot sooner than it normally does," said Coovert.

Health officials said they want to inform residents how to protect themselves from the deadly parasite.

“If you're skiing or diving into water, any activity like that you where you would normally get water up in your nose; you need to have something to stop that. A nose plug,” said Coovert.

Coovert said the bug is not visible to the naked eye, but its lasting effects are.

"They can treat it but most of the times it is fatal,” said Coovert.

Little said he'll make sure he stays on the banks away from the water.

"I make sure I don't walk the rock, because it’s so easy to slip and fall,” said Little. So, I stay with the trails, follow the rocks and make sure wherever I’m standing and I’m fishing. I have good footing."

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6