Brain Eating Amoeba

The brain eating amoeba, or Naegleria Fowleri, is one of the top 5 shocking and deadly bacterium. As seen on Monsters Inside Me, it’s no secret that it’s extremely lethal.

What is it?

The brain eating amoeba–or naegleria fowleri—is a living microscopic bacteria that causes severe damage in your brain. It was discovered in 1975 and is between 8 to 15 micrometers big and therefore can only be seen with the aid of a microscope. The fatality rate for those infected is over 95%, with most common cases occurring in male children from the early ages up to 13 years old.

Where is it located?

Naegleria fowleri is found all throughout the world in ponds, lakes, rivers, hot springs, warm water runoff from industrial plants, aquariums, soil, and in pools not treated with chlorine. The first case was identified in Australia. In the U.S., it can be found in freshwater sources in southern or southwestern states such as Florida and Texas. It lives in warm waters as hot as 113° Fahrenheit (45° Celcius).

How will it kill you?

Although infection occurs through direct contact with tainted waters, it’s not possible to catch the bacteria from another person. When tainted water is introduced into the nose through bathing or swimming, the bacteria invades and attaches to your nervous system and brain. It attaches to your olfactory nerve and moves to your olfactory bulbs–where it causes significant damage–then migrates to the brain. The disease progresses quickly and victims experience several symptoms including changes in taste and smell, headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting. It then leads to confusion, hallucination, a lack of attention, loss of balance, and seizures. It significantly shortens your life cycle as death occurs one to two weeks after the first symptoms are experienced.

How to survive:

The first and most important step in reducing your risk of infection is to swim in either a clean, maintained pool or to avoid natural bodies of water during the late summer. Although there’s no specific treatment for the brain eating amoeba, infected persons must seek professional medical help as fast as possible if they want to be survivors in order to be provided supportive treatment and the proper medications to kill the bacteria. One such survivor was Kali Hardig from Arkansas.


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