The (rare!!) brain-eating amoeba in warm ponds


Naegleria fowleri

Here I’m trying once again to offer tales from microbial ecology to make swimmers’ and divers’ lives better. As an open-water swimming enthusiast, I was particularly intrigued by this article on an amoeba that people can get from swimming in nature, particularly in warm water. This tale made me grateful that my open-water swimming (at Miller’s Pond, Durham, Connecticut) is in cool water.

Here’s the link to an article on Naegleria, the (rare!) brain-eating amoeba that likes warm water.

This all reminds me of a conversation I had with a Jamaican cab driver in Miami. We were talking about what we like to do, and when I mentioned swimming in ponds, he laughed and asked, “Don’t you have to worry about alligators?” Yep, there’s a truckload of creepy water creatures we don’t have to worry about in New England.

No cases yet in Connecticut, but the pathogen was identified by PCR in Connecticut waters. One more reason to be annoyed and scared by global warming.

Photo credit: DPDx