6 Die From Brain-Eating Amoeba

Global warming may make cases more common
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2007 12:09 PM CDT

It's an ominous name—Naegleria fowleri. And it's a more ominous creature, a waterborne amoeba that enters a swimmer's nose, latches onto the olfactory nerve, and travels to the brain, where it feeds until its victim dies. A 14-year-old Arizona boy died this month from Naegleria—one of six US victims this year, AP reports.

Most infections occur in balmy waters in the South. Naegleria infections are rare, with only a few hundred worldwide instances since the '60s, but six represents a spike that might be exacerbated by global warming. "This is a heat-loving amoeba," said a CDC specialist. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases." (More global warming stories.)

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