This summer’s death of a kid in Nebraska brought the deadly but rare Naegleria fowleri, also known as the brain-eating amoeba, back into the news.
The amoeba can enter through the nostrils and is found in warm, fresh water.
Once inside, it moves to the brain and begins to destruct tissue there.
Spreading of a brain-eating amoeba
(Photo : AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo : AFP via Getty Images)
According to Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, Naegleria fowleri thrives best in warm seas with temperatures above 30C, however, it can withstand temperatures as high as 46C.
That makes it suitable for spreading in a warmer environment, as per The Guardian.
Most outbreaks have indeed been linked to lake swimming.
People have also been known to get the virus by doing nasal irrigation or using contaminated water for backyard slip-and-slides.
The amoebas may not result in death, but they may still inflict significant harm.
According to Yun Shen, an environmental engineer at the University of California Riverside, warmer temperatures not only encourage the survival and growth of diseases like Naegleria, but also encourage more people to enter the water, which can increase the danger.
Extreme weather conditions, such as flooding and drought, can spread more diseases into the ecosystem and are being exacerbated by the climate crisis.
A small percentage of the hundreds of millions of individuals who swim in warm fresh water every year become ill.
Because of this, setting any regulated acceptable levels is difficult.
In warm freshwater environments, it’s best to avoid submerging your head to prevent getting water up your nose. He suggested nose clamps as an additional choice, particularly for young toddlers.
The specialists advised against excavating or disrupting sediments in these locations because mud and soil may also be affected.
Reproduction of an Amoeba through Binary fission
Amoebae are incredibly diverse organisms, and as a result, different species reproduce especially through binary fission.
Binary fission is hands down the most prevalent asexual reproduction method used by amoebae.
The amoeba will form a spherical shape and withhold its pseudopodia in order to prepare for reproduction, as per Biology Dictionary.
The cytoplasm divides and separates at the cell’s center, creating two daughter cells, and the nucleus undergoes mitosis.
The two ensuing daughter cells are replicas of the parent cell since this procedure merely copies the genetic material to create a second cell.
The nucleus is therefore absolutely necessary for this type of reproduction.
This has been demonstrated in trials that involved cutting an amoeba in half or removing the nucleus. The cell finally perishes with no need for a nucleus in both scenarios.
Eliminating the brain-eating amoeba
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is a condition brought on by Naegleria fowleri infection.
As a result of this infection’s destruction of brain tissue, most patients die from significant brain swelling, as per Queensland Governnment.
If water that contains the amoebae is forced up the nose through actions like jumping, diving, or falling into the water, infection with Naegleria fowleri may result.
Most patients with this condition pass away within 10 days after the onset of symptoms, even with antibiotic treatment.
The probability of survival may be increased with prompt diagnosis and treatment.
The most efficient approach to disinfecting swimming pools and non-potable water sources is using chlorine, which also kills Naegleria fowleri.
In which the amoeba may establish colonies in rural water systems, chlorine might not even reach those places. In these situations, chloramination is a method that works better to control Naegleria fowleri.
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