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Expert: Deadly Brain-Eating Amoeba Rare, But in Missouri Lakes, Ponds

Fred Bodimer
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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

fred-bodimer Fred Bodimer
Fred Bodimer joined KMOX in 1982 after graduating from the University...
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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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Health News & Information: CBSStL.com/Health

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.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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