Brain Eating Parasite Kills 14 Year-Old


Staff Writer

On August 31, 2015, Houston born, Michael John Riley Jr, passed away from a brain eating parasite. A star athlete, at the age of 14, had begun getting headaches, which ended in a “total loss of brain function”. The reason behind Michael’s death is a brain eating amoeba.

What is this amoeba that caused the death of the 14 year old? “Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled organism that can cause a brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM”, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Where is the Parasite located? The parasite is usually located in warm water such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs. Even though it is found in warm waters, this parasite not only causes disease, but can multiply fast in the waters.

How can you get this brain eating parasite? People can get it by swimming in the contaminated warm water. Then once in contact with the parasite, it is able to travel up your nose, to your brain and cause life threatening harm. It is also possible to get infected with this parasite in pools that are not properly chlorinated. However, you are unable to get infected by drinking the contaminated water with the parasite in it.

How can you prevent yourself from getting the parasite? When swimming in the warm bodies of water, like hot springs, lakes, or rivers, try to avoid from going underwater and “stirring up the sediment at the bottom of shallow freshwater areas”. If you want to go underwater, use nose plugs to prevent the parasite from entering your nose.

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