This Amoeba Eats Human Brains

Naegleria fowleri is found in freshwater throughout the world, and can enter the human body through the nose. Infections from it have a fatality rate of more than 97%, and of the roughly 133 individuals known to have been infected, only 3 have survived. The amoeba is very difficult to detect once it has entered the brain, and a diagnosis is typically made only once symptoms appear, about 5 days after infection. Victims usually perish from the infection 1 to 12 days after symptoms manifest.


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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Naegleria fowleri is about a quarter of the width of a human hair. 00:31

  2. From 2001 to 2010, 32 people were infected by Naegleria fowleri in America. 01:13

  3. About 80% of Naegleria fowleri infections have occurred in males who were diving, waterskiing, or engaging in water sports. 02:06