Naegleria Fowleri(commonlyreferred to as the "brain-eating amoeba" or "brain-eating ameba") is a free-living, microscopic ameba. It is found around the world in warm freshwater and soil. Human infection occurs when the ameba enters the nose and invades the brain causing primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This rapidly progressing infection destroys brain tissue, causes brain swelling, and is usually fatal.
Infections can occur after swimming or nasal exposure to water contaminated with Naegleria Fowleri. This may include warm freshwater such as lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and canals. Infection cannot occur from drinking contaminated water and does not spread from one person to another.
Symptoms usually start 5 days after infection and can include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms progress quickly to include stiff neck, seizures, hallucinations and coma.
It is critical to see a physician immediately after the first onset of symptoms as the disease progresses rapidly and is almost always fatal. Early diagnosis and new treatments might increase the chances for survival.