Saturday, August 20, 2011

CDC Asks to Sample Virginia Waters for Deadly Amoebaba

Published August 20, 2011

Federal authorities are asking for samples of Virginia waterways in an attempt to develop a test for detecting deadly microscopic amoeba.

Health officials say two children and a young man nationwide have died this summer from a fatal infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis stemming from a brain-eating amoeba that lives in water.This month, a 9-year-old Virginia boy died a week after he went to a fishing day camp. Christian Alexander Strickland had visited several bodies of water during

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking Virginia for help to sample waters for Naegleria fowleri.

The free-living amoeba gets up the nose, burrows up into the skull and destroys brain tissue. It's found in warm lakes and rivers during the hot summer months, mostly in the South."It's a terrible disease that we would like to know more about and be able to tell the public more about from a prevention standpoint," said Michael Beach, the federal agency's associate director for healthy water. "We are trying to learn more, but it's a tough one because it's such a rare occurrence."

It's a medical mystery why some people who swim in amoeba-containing water get the fatal nervous system condition while many others don't, experts say."That's the million-dollar question," he said. "We have no idea."....

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