ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – What are the chances of a brain-eating amoeba infection that recently killed a 9-year-old Kansas girl showing up in Missouri?
The girl died from what’s known as Naegleria fowleri. It affects people who swim in certain bodies of fresh water.
“It’s fairly rare,” says SLU Care infectious diseases specialist Dr. Nirav Patel. “The organism is pretty widespread throughout the southern United States. Most of the time it doesn’t cause an infection, but when it does it can be very devastating.”
Dr. Patel says the organism is most definitely in Missouri lakes and ponds, but you don’t need to freak out about it.
“Things that can be done are trying to stay in not the murky areas of the water, but the cleaner areas of the water,” he says.
Dr. Patel also suggests wearing nose clips or holding your nostrils closed while underwater to keep the protozoans from entering through the nose.
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