Travelling To Nevada? Now, Beware Of Brain-Eating Amoeba Present In Hot Springs!

by Tejashee Kashyap
Travelling To Nevada? Now, Beware Of Brain-Eating Amoeba Present In Hot Springs!

Nevada’s travel season is truly year-round, as each season brings unique experiences and opportunities for adventure. It is home to a number of natural hot springs. These offer visitors the chance to relax and rejuvenate in stunning natural settings. Now, Lake Mead officials in Nevada are warning hikers and tourists visiting hot springs to be cautious of a possibly lethal, brain-eating amoeba in the water.

Brain-Eating Amoeba In Nevada’s Hot Springs

Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as the “brain-eating amoeba,” is a rare but potentially deadly microorganism. Bathers who plan to visit the hot springs are cautioned not to splash or submerge their heads.

According to the officials, this amoeba enters the body through the nose and can produce a fatal infection characterised by a severe headache, fever, and vomiting. Avoid diving, splashing water, or immersing your head in hot spring water.

The amoeba was linked to the death of a 2-year-old kid in July. A 17-year-old Georgia girl died in July after becoming infected with the amoeba on a lake trip with friends. A guy in Florida died in February after washing his face and rinsing his sinuses with amoeba-contaminated water. This year, at least four people have died as a result of the virus.

As the data says, only four of the 157 people infected in the United States between 1962 and 2022 survived, putting the infection fatality rate at more than 97 per cent.

Research the hot spring you plan to visit. Some hot springs are more heavily managed, and the water quality is regularly tested. Consider visiting those with a good reputation for safety.

Also read: What Is Happening At The Burning Man Festival In US’s Nevada?

How Does The Amoeba Affect You?

The amoeba typically enters the body through the nose when a person comes into contact with contaminated water. Once inside the nasal passages, it can potentially travel to the brain, causing a rare and severe brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Symptoms of PAM can include severe headache, fever, nausea, and neurological problems, and it is almost always fatal.

The primary route of infection is through the nose. When in warm freshwater bodies, try to avoid submerging your head, diving, or engaging in activities that could force water up your nasal passages.

So, take precautions when you’re visiting hot springs in Nevada!

Cover image credits: Canva

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