Officials in Wichita Co. warn of brain-eating amoeba

WICHITA COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Two departments that serve Wichita Falls and Wichita County are warning residents about a brain-eating amoeba that may be in area lakes, river, and ponds.

In all natural bodies of water, it is common to find Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, which in some rare cases causes a fatal waterborne disease, Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) when it reaches the brain through sinus cavities.

A CDC report showed more than 30 people have died because of PAM.

"I'm concerned about any virus, or a bacterial problem like this," Dan Brown said while he fished at Lake Arrowhead State Park.

Brown said he will continue to do what he loves but he will be more careful.

"You need to take any precaution that you can, nose clips, maybe even earplugs, something like that to keep those viruses out of the body," Brown said.

Not everyone we spoke to was worried about it.

"[Lake Arrowhead State Park] being a state facility, if there was any dangerous water here they'll have it posted," Jack Stephens said.

Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District and City of Wichita Falls Public Works Departments said children are the most vulnerable to PAM.

They say if your child starts to experience any of the following symptoms such as, headache, fever, nausea and/or vomiting, seizures or hallucinations than they should see a doctor immediately.

"Holding your nose, or not letting water get into your nose would be a good thing to practice," Stephens said.

Health District officials also advised staying away from muddy, warm and stagnant waters.

The amoeba does not live in swimming pools, water parks or hot tubs that are properly cleaned, maintained, and treated with chlorine and filtration.

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