The Brain-Eating Amoeba Is a Nearly Perfect Killer

The single-celled menace rarely infects humans. That’s what makes it so hard to treat. Haley Weiss July 29, 2019 

Ognen Teofilovski / Reuters

Last week, a North Carolina man became a notorious microbial killer’s first confirmed victim this year. Fifty-nine-year-old Eddie Gray had unknowingly come across a brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a man-made lake near Fayetteville in mid-July; 10 days later, he was dead.

Since the brain-eating amoeba was first recognized and named, in 1970, grisly reports of its disastrous attacks have made headlines nearly every year. About 97 percent of confirmed cases in the United States have been fatal. But the infection is also incredibly rare, and the small sample size leaves the epidemiologists who study it and the doctors who encounter it with their hands tied. It may be one of nature’s most perfect crimes.

Despite their gruesome moniker, most brain-eating amoebas never eat a single brain. The single-celled swimmer, formally known as Naegleria fowleri, passes its time resting in a dormant state or, when it’s warm enough, splashing around and munching on bacteria. Unlike most waterborne pathogens, it’s utterly benign if you drink it. It becomes dangerous only when, thanks to a person enjoying a day at a water park or a quick rinse in a stream, the amoeba is yanked from its bacterial buffet and swept into the dark recesses of the human nose.

If the amoeba isn’t already in dining mode at this point, the intense burst of human body heat can help it shape-shift out of dormancy. Like anyone else waking up somewhere unfamiliar, the brain-eating amoeba is desperate for a food source, so it slithers its way up the olfactory nerve until it spies a tasty-looking tangle of neurons and digs in. The host’s immune system, sensing an unwelcome visitor, sends an onslaught of white blood cells to take down the feasting parasite. That commotion leads to a swollen—and, eventually, irreparably damaged—brain.

“We have these hard skulls to protect our brains from traumatic injuries,” says Jennifer Cope, a medical epidemiologist who studies N. fowleri for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But when you start to swell, that hard skull actually gets in the way.” With nowhere else to go, the brain stem and other nearby regions are pushed down through the bottom of the skull. For most of the brain-eating amoeba’s victims, this crowding is the direct cause of death.

Altogether, this deadly infection is known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). It’s similar to viral and bacterial meningitis, except the invader that causes it comes from the water and eats your brain. With just about 30 cases in the United States in the past decade, PAM is an uncommon variant of an already rare disease. Since N. fowleri was first identified by Australian doctors roughly 50 years ago, there have been at least 146 confirmed cases of PAM in the United States, with only four survivors.

N. fowleri is so alarmingly dangerous because, like bacterial and viral meningitis, PAM is nearly impossible to spot until long after any of the interventions that have worked for some victims are even an option. Even when a patient does make it to a hospital within a few days of infection, PAM is often mistaken for one of these types of meningitis (distinguishing them requires an invasive spinal tap) and treated as such, to no avail. Experts agree that for every confirmed case, there are likely one or two that were misdiagnosed and recorded instead as more common meningitis fatalities.

Gray’s death fits the most common narrative of an N. fowleri fatality. Though not much is known about the organism, Cope says, “we do know it’s thermophilic—it likes heat.” Swimmers in balmy southern lakes and rivers have generally been the unlucky few each summer, but in recent years there have been some concerning outliers.

In 2013, a 4-year-old boy living near New Orleans died unexpectedly from what doctors later determined to be PAM. The CDC was called. “I asked the same questions we usually do about swimming in lakes, and [the parents] said they hadn’t been to any lakes,” Cope says. “It led to us finding that really the only thing was that he’d been playing on the backyard Slip ’n Slide—with a hose hooked up to the backyard tap.”

Two years earlier, a 20-year-old man in the same parish had developed PAM after rinsing his sinuses with a neti pot he’d filled up in the sink. “We went back and we did sampling again,” Cope says. “This time we found it in the home where the patient had been exposed, but we also found it in the drinking-water distribution system, in the pipes that led into the home from the street.” It was the first time the amoeba had been spotted in a centrally treated U.S. system.

“What the problem was in Louisiana was that they were using chloramines,” says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who studies groundwater N. fowleri. In Arizona, Gerba says, chlorine is the standard choice for disinfecting municipal water, but about 30 percent of the country instead uses chloramine, a mix of chlorine and ammonia that leaves behind fewer harmful by-products such as chloroform. Chlorine and chloramine dissipate differently in water, meaning that under the right set of circumstances—for instance, low water turnover in areas left partially vacant by Hurricane Katrina—the less aggressive chloramine can leave some pockets untreated.

The contaminated system in Louisiana was flushed in 2013, and the Environmental Protection Agency began regularly monitoring water in the region. But the process is complicated, and spotting the amoebas can take weeks once they show up. There’s no quick test for the parasite, in part because so much about it remains unknown. Cope’s lab is currently in the early stages of sequencing the genomes of N. fowleri samples that the CDC has collected from across the United States over the years. It’s identified three genotypes so far, she says, but the system “doesn’t have a lot of granularity to it” and isn’t used much yet. Its goal is to eventually develop a sort of amoeba dictionary detailed enough to match samples from patients to specific collections of the creatures, giving scientists the ability to pinpoint exactly where someone encountered the pathogen.

Today the clearest risk factor is still warm water temperatures, which make it easier for the microbes to reproduce. “What’s concerning people,” Gerba says, “is that with global warming, the water is warming up, and people are expecting to see more cases.” Brain-eating amoebas around the world are generally relegated to sunny climes, but when two PAM cases were confirmed in Minnesota in 2010 and 2012, it raised the specter of a climate-change-induced N. fowleri explosion. In a 2017 review, Cope and her colleagues at the CDC warned that the Minnesota cases could be a preview of things to come. Today she emphasizes that despite any geographical changes, the number of annual cases in the United States remains steady, and too small to test for any statistically significant trends.

Given how rare an N. fowleri infection is, worrying about it is like worrying about falling into a volcano: The probability of it happening to you is small, and making it even smaller is simple. All it takes is steps such as purifying tap water an extra time before flushing your nostrils with a neti pot and not submerging your head (or using a nose clip) when you swim in nature—even if the water looks really, really clean.

“I worry about the word natural all the time. Every time you swim in natural waters, you’re at an increased risk of getting ill,” Gerba says. “People think, Oh, it’s so natural; it’s so fresh, and I go, ‘Yeah, all the birds pooped in it this morning.’”


Flesh-Eating Worms Reach Florida's Mainland

A massive eradication effort wiped out screwworms in the U.S. 35 years ago—but then they reappeared.

Sarah Zhang

January 15, 2017
A Key deer in the Florida Keys, where the screwworm infestation first started.Beth J. Harpaz / AP

The stray dog came with bad news. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a dog near Homestead, Florida—a city 15 miles north of the Florida Keys—was found with wounds infested with screwworms, the much dreaded flesh-eating pest.

If you’re not familiar with screwworm, it’s because the U.S. poured millions of dollars into eradicating them back in 1982. But last fall, it reemerged in the Florida Keys, catching almost everyone by surprise. Wildlife biologists eventually found several deer on the archipelago with the parasite. Screwworms lay eggs in open wounds, burrowing into the flesh of pets and occasionally even humans. Livestock, historically, was the big economic concern. Florida still sends hundreds thousands of young calves to herds around the country each year, so a screwworm infestation could do some real damage.

“The screwworm is a potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every rancher’s spine,” said Florida’s Commission of Agriculture Adam Putnam, in a statement that accompanied the official declaration of agricultural emergency last October.

The Keys infestation was bad, but at least it was somewhat isolated on the archipelago. Officials set up an animal health checkpoint at mile 106 on U.S. Highway 1, the main road that leads from the mainland to the Keys. The checkpoint would scan animals leaving the Keys—usually pets traveling with their owners—for infestation with screwworm.

It’s not clear exactly how that stray dog got infested or where it had been before it was found in Homestead. The USDA heard about the animal from a vet in the area. It has since be treated. “It’s a very treatable condition if caught early,” says USDA veterinary medical officer Robert Dickens. “The dog is doing really well.”

Individual animals can get anti-parasite drugs. But the best large-scale weapon against screwworms are sterile screwworms, deliberately sterilized using X-rays in a factory. Release enough of them and they will prevent any of the non-sterile ones from finding a mate.

This was the strategy that eradicated screwworms from the U.S. 30 years ago, and this is the strategy USDA has been using to get screwworms out of the Keys again. The USDA has released 80 million sterile screwworms across 25 sites in the Keys, and now will add Homestead to the list of release sites. On Friday, state and federal teams released sterile screwworms at Homestead, and they will continue doing so twice a week for the next six to nine weeks.

It’s still unclear where the screwworms came from. After the U.S. eradicated the pests, it partnered with countries in South and Central America, releasing sterile screwworms further and further south until they reached one of the narrowest parts of the continent, the Darien Gap in Panama. Here, millions of sterile screwworms are still dumped by the airplane-load to form an invisible but permanent sterile insect barrier.

Perhaps someone or something brought it to the Keys from further south. Perhaps it came from Cuba, Haiti, or the Dominican Republican, which have not eradicated screwworms and are just short expanse of ocean away. Wherever it came from, it eventually reached a stray dog in Florida.


Climate Engineering & Chemtrails

There's an evil plan that has been engineered to control everything in our world from your behavior to the earths weather!

YouTube Video

There has been scientific weather modification program that has taken all forms from microwaving of the atmosphere to spraying metal particles into the atmosphere from both commercial and military airplanes in order to create a upper atmosphere shield, like a dome of reflection and an atmosphere that keeps out certain kinds of natural geophysical effects of a natural balancing of the atmosphere and environment. It has been denied by government sources and covered up by others! It has resulted in the poisoning of our air, and our soil, and had far reaching effects on the health of the population where the spraying has occurred! It is a part of the New World Order's agenda for starving God's people and causing depopulation in anyway they can! People need to be woken up and alerted to this evil!

YouTube Video


Former US Presidential Candidate Blows The Whistle On Total Government Control Of Non-Profit Organizations

August 28, 2020

Dane Wigington

Click below for the full interview:

Dr. Chuck Baldwin has a very long and impressive resume (covered in Wikipedia), including being the 2008 presidential candidate for the Constitutional Party. In a world where preconception, ideology and bias increasingly rule the day, Dr. Baldwin has long since been a courageous outspoken voice of reason and fact based conclusions. Dr. Baldwin's unyielding regard and respect for the unvarnished truth is inspiring. In this candid and revealing interview, conducted by, Dr. Baldwin exposes the way in which the US government controls the conduct of countless organizations through their "non-profit" status. Dr. Baldwin also addresses when he first became aware of the ongoing global climate engineering operations which are a dire and immediate threat to us all.

In our increasingly Orwellian world, now more than ever voices like Dr. Chuck Baldwin’s need to be heard. If a larger percentage of society remains unwilling to face the gathering storm head-on and honestly examine the frontline facts, we will have no chance of altering our current course toward near term planetary omnicide. We must all make our voices heard in the critical battle to sound the alarm, the sand in the hourglass is rapidly running out.

SEE ALSO THIS PAGE ON THIS SITE:  Weather & Atmosphere Manipulation

12th Sept. 2020