BRAIN EATING AMOEBA (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     24th May 2024        

Context: A five-year-old girl being treated for primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a rare and deadly infection caused by the "brain-eating amoeba" Naegleria fowleri, recently passed away. 

Brain-Eating Amoeba

  • About: Naegleria fowleri lives in warm fresh water and soil around the world.
  • Infection: It infects people when it enters the body through the nose.
  • Growth Conditions: Higher temperatures of up to 115°F (46°C) are conducive to its growth.
  • Survival: It can survive for short periods in warm environments.
  • Freshwater Locations
  • Natural Bodies of Water: The amoeba can be found in warm freshwater, such as lakes and rivers.

o It can also inhabit swimming pools, splash pads, surf parks, or other recreational venues that are poorly maintained or minimally chlorinated.

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)

  • About: It  is a rare brain infection that is caused by Naegleria fowleri. It is a free-living amoeba or a single-celled living organism.
  • Initial Symptoms: Headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Advanced Symptoms: Stiff neck, confusion, seizures, hallucinations, and coma.
  • Transmission Facts: Infection does not occur from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria fowleri.

o Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is not transmissible between people.

  • Treatment: Scientists have not found any consistently effective treatments.