In the United States, millions of people are exposed to the amoeba that causes naegleria infection each year, but few people get sick from it. From 2005 to 2014, 35 infections were reported.
Some factors that might increase your risk of naegleria infection include:
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- Freshwater swimming. Most people who become ill have been swimming in a freshwater lake within the previous two weeks.
- Heat waves. The amoeba thrives in warm or hot water.
- Age. Children and young adults are the most likely age groups to be affected, possibly because they're likely to stay in the water longer and are more active in the water.
- Naegleria fowleri — Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) — Amebic Encephalitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/index.html. Accessed June 4, 2015.
- Seas C, et al. Free-living amebas. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 4, 2015.
- Naegleria fowleri — General information. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/general.html. Accessed June 4, 2015.
- Naegleria fowleri — Treatment. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/treatment.html. Accessed June 9, 2015.
- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 9, 2015.