CDC: Peak season for brain-eating amoeba

How do you keep a hypochondriac from swimming?

A single-celled zombie stalking a human brain.

A single-celled zombie stalking a human brain.

Tell them brain-eating amoeba’s have killed three people this summer.

Unfortunately, this medical curio is true, says CNN, citing the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control.

More unfortunate, the brain-eating micro-varmits feast in warm Southern waters — the deaths this year have occurred in Florida, Louisiana and Virginia.

The difficult to pronounce and rare single-celled organism — Naegleria fowleri — is 95% lethal, but usually only kills a few people each year. Eight died in 1980.

The amoebas enter the human body through the nose after an individual swims or dives into warm fresh water, like ponds, lakes, rivers and even hot springs, writes CNN.

July, August and September are peak season.

Scientists speculate that the lack of certain antibodies could be why some get infected while others swimming in the same body of water don’t.

Once the amoeba enters the nose, it works its way up into the brain and eats neurons.

Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and neck stiffness. Later symptoms include confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations.

Death occurs about a week later.

The CDC offers these tips, but my suggestion is to only swim in Clorox diluted with cold water.

16 comments Add your comment

Captain Midnight

August 17th, 2011
4:53 pm

First! I think.


August 17th, 2011
4:54 pm

The ‘zombie amoeba eating human brains’ eye catcher on the front page is in very poor taste, especially considering the recent deaths. The ‘zombie’ reference overall is totally unnecessary. I’m not a PC, overly sensitive type, but I would be really pissed off if I had read that after my child had died as a result of something like this. Stop trying to be glib and trendy, and have a little more compassion.


August 17th, 2011
5:05 pm

I agree sreverino – VERY POOR TASTE AJC!!
If yall want a article that represents the issue with a little more compassion to the lives recently lost, please go to


August 17th, 2011
5:17 pm

Actually I thought the title was good, I wouldn’t have clicked on the article otherwise. You guys need to not be so uptight!


August 17th, 2011
5:34 pm

kurt, thanks for (sort of) proving my point. Using a trend like ‘zombie mania’, (or ,you know, whatever), with all of it’s contrived faux-hysteria as a grabber to report on a serious life and death matter is a little much, in my opinion. Pure Nancy Grace, bottom of the screen crawl style “journalism”. I’m guilty of clicking on the article because of the zombie sell, too…just for a different reason.


August 17th, 2011
5:40 pm

I think the zombie reference is extremely insensitive, cold and inappropriate. If the AJC would like to show some class, they will pull this article and re-title it. I rarely, if ever, visit AJC and I sure don’t subscribe to it. “Journalism” such as this disgusts me. Not only that, as a medical professional, the information is at best, inaccurate. How can you belittle the suffering these children experienced or the anguish their loved ones are feeling. SHAME ON YOU AJC. Don’t be uptight? Remember Karma is a …well you know.


August 17th, 2011
5:44 pm

Thanks, AJC.


August 17th, 2011
5:48 pm

carol, you expressed my sentiments much better than I could. Thank you, too.


August 17th, 2011
5:54 pm

To quote the CDC: “Naegleria fowleri infections are very rare. In the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, 32 infections were reported in the U.S. Of those cases, 30 people were infected by contaminated recreational water and two people were infected by water from a geothermal (naturally hot) drinking water supply.”

Come on AJC, don’t chase after The Star. This is an incredibly rare illness that doesn’t warrant scaring people. The drive to the lake is FAR more dangerous and it’s lazy journalism to go for an easy scare.


August 17th, 2011
6:05 pm

Headlines have ALWAYS been an issue with the AJC. Sick!!


August 17th, 2011
6:13 pm

Tomorrow’s headline: “Kids Hospitalized After Swimming In Clorox as Suggested by AJC Article”


August 17th, 2011
7:23 pm

This protozoan would certainly die of starvation if it lived in the White House.


August 17th, 2011
7:49 pm

Okay so I have to ask – You folks are upset because a headline MIGHT offend someone else?? ((*Yikes*)) – Why not go climb a tree, or move to Great Britain…better yet….go swimming. ;p


August 17th, 2011
8:09 pm

“Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and neck stiffness. Later symptoms include confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations.”

And I thought all this time those symptoms I had were because of reading the AJC.

Old Geezer

August 18th, 2011
11:22 am

Is there any way they can make this amoeba more aggressive? A week before death is too long. Let’s get some grant money and a few college kids on this thing.

simon m

September 10th, 2011
10:40 pm

Not to be confused with the non-lethal amoebia going thru the brains of most liberals.