Amoeba Alert - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Amoeba Alert

The rain this spring recreated many summer recreation spots, just by adding water. 
Though some just want to jump right in, the muddy floodwaters now in our lakes and rivers could hold a microscopic danger: namely, the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. 
Wichita County Director of Health Lou Kreidler wants to put you on amoeba alert.
"This year, our concern is the dirt and the mud they live in, the mud in the bottom of the lake, and there's so much dirt that's been turned up from the flooding," Kreidler said.
The organism getting stuck in the mud, so to speak, is the main concern for health officials this year. 
Normally, the low lake levels and warm temperatures would be the prime environment for the Naegleria. So, the deeper cooler lakes bring good news.
"The risk is a little bit lower this year than we've had in the past years with the drought."
But that doesn't mean you can let your guard down. The amoeba gets into your body when water is forced into your nasal cavity. This can be from activities like jumping or diving into freshwater or jetskiing, for example. Children are most at risk from contracting a deadly type of meningitis from the organism. 
Some of the signs that your child is in trouble include a severe headache, fever, vomiting, stiffness in your neck, and even disorientation and hallucinations. 
"If you have a child who's been in a body of water and they start to exhibit any of those symptoms you need to get them to the E.R." Kreidler said.
Folks at the pool are not at risk of contact with the Naegleria. and for swimmers at the lakes who want to avoid the amoeba, a nose clip works great.
"We want folks to enjoy the 4th, and to enjoy the lakes that are full that we haven't seen in so many years. Just take the minor precautions," Kreidler advised. 
Contracting the deadly disease associated with the amoeba is very rare. In fact, the last case reported in Texoma was 1999. However, since 1962, Texas is second in the nation in number of published cases, with 32. 
To visit the CDC web page associated with this deadly amoeba, click here.

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