The fatal “brain-eating amoeba” infection has historically occurred in the southern United States. But in recent years, such cases are coming up, which is probably a new study due to climate change.
Study researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigated cases of this brain-eating amoeba, known as Negleria FowlerlyOver a period of four decades in the US.
They found that, although the number of cases occurring each year has been roughly the same, the geographic range of these cases has been flowing north-east, with more cases occurring in Midwestern states than before.
N. Fowleri A single-celled organism that according to the CDC is found naturally in warm fresh water, such as lakes and rivers. It causes a devastating brain infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is almost universally fatal.
Infection occurs when contaminated water enters a person’s nose, causing the organism to enter the brain through the olfactory nerves (responsible for your sense of smell) and destroy brain tissue. Swallowing contaminated water will not cause infection, the CDC says.
Since N. Fowleri It thrives in warm water, up to 113 ° F (45 ° C), making it possible that global warming temperatures may affect the geographic range of organisms, the authors said.
In the new study published on Wednesday (16 December) in the journal Emerging Infectious DiseasesResearchers analyze US cases N. Fowleri Recreational water exposure – such as swimming in lakes, ponds, rivers or reservoirs – from 1978 to 2018.
They identified a total of 85 cases N. Fowleri Their criteria for the study (i.e. cases that were associated with recreational water exposure and included location data) met.
During this time, the number of annual reported cases was fairly stable, ranging from zero to six per year.
Most of the 74 cases occurred in the southern states; But six were reported in the Midwest including Minnesota, Kansas and Indiana. Five of these six cases occurred after 2010, the report said.
Above: n. Fauleri infection cases related to recreational water from 1978 to 2018.
What’s more, when the team used a model to examine trends in maximum latitude of cases per year, they found that maximum latitude moved northward approximately 8.2 miles (13.3 kilometers) per year during the study period Was.
Finally, the researchers analyzed weather data around the date of each case, and found that in each case, on average, the daily temperature over two weeks was higher than the historical average for each location.
“It is possible that rising temperatures and resulting recreational water use increases, such as swimming and water sports, may contribute to the changing epidemiology of PAM,” the authors wrote.
Attempts to characterize PAM cases, such as knowing when and where these cases occur, and being aware of changes in their geographic range, may help to infer that visiting natural swimming holes The most risky, the authors said.
Since there is no rapid test for this N. Fowleri In water, the only sure way to prevent these infections is to avoid swimming in warm fresh water, the CDC says.
If you like to swim in warm fresh water, you can try to avoid water from your nose by closing your nose, using a nose clip, or keeping your head above water.
This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.