This Amoeba Eats Human Brains

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.


Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Naegleria fowleri is about a quarter of the width of a human hair. (0:31)

  • 2

    From 2001 to 2010, 32 people were infected by Naegleria fowleri in America. (1:13)

  • 3

    About 80% of Naegleria fowleri infections have occurred in males who were diving, waterskiing, or engaging in water sports. (2:06)

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