Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Vital Travel Advisory for UK Holidaymakers

Beware the "Brain-Eating Amoeba" in US Freshwaters

A Crucial Precaution for UK Travellers to the US

British travellers planning their US adventures are being advised to take heed of a vital caution concerning warm freshwaters in the country. This warning comes in light of the increasing prevalence of a deadly microorganism, Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as the “brain-eating amoeba.”

Naegleria Fowleri: The Hidden Health Hazard

Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled parasite that inflicts extensive damage to the brain once it enters the body through the nasal cavity. The most recent victims of this devastating amoeba include an individual in Georgia and a two-year-old toddler in Nevada, both of whom had been swimming in freshwater.

Unsettling Statistics and Vulnerable Groups

The resilience against this amoeba is alarmingly low. The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reports that of the 157 recorded infections since 1962, there have been merely four survivors. Interestingly, young males under the age of 14 appear to be the most susceptible, although the exact reasoning remains under investigation.

Where Does Naegleria Fowleri Thrive?

Naegleria fowleri, being thermophilic, predominantly inhabits warm freshwater sources, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs. On rare occasions, infections have arisen from poorly chlorinated artificial water sources like swimming pools and water parks. It’s important to note that the amoeba cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Recognising the Symptoms

The infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), typically presents in two stages. Initial symptoms often occur 1 to 12 days post-infection and include severe frontal headaches, fever, nausea, and vomiting.


If you have your holiday sights set on the US, awareness of potential health risks, such as Naegleria fowleri, is critical. Although instances of this amoeba are relatively rare, its lethal nature necessitates vigilance when partaking in freshwater activities, particularly in warmer regions. If any of the associated symptoms are experienced, immediate medical attention is crucial.

Wellness Uncovered: The Bournemouth Observer’s Health & Fitness.

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The Health & Fitness section of The Bournemouth Observer is your dedicated companion for a healthier life. Our carefully crafted articles encompass everything from diet and exercise advice to medical breakthroughs and wellness trends. We provide practical, research-backed advice and inspiring success stories to empower your fitness journey. Your path to health and vitality begins here.

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