Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Researchers assure public that risk of infection is minute

A single-celled amoeba called Naegleria fowleri, is being blamed fro the death of a four-year-old girl last month in St. Bernard Parish, southeast of New Orleans. Described as being about a tenth the width of a human hair, it has been incorrectly described as a "brain eating" microbe. The microbe does create a deleterious immune reaction - but scientists say that the risk of infection is slight.

About 40 percent of cases of this dangerous brain inflammation have no known cause.

About 40 percent of cases of this dangerous brain inflammation have no known cause.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Amoeba, contamination, deaths, nasal passages, microbe


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More chlorine is being pumped into the municipal water supply to kill the bugs. In addition, the 40,000 residents of the town have been instructed as to how they can avoid infection. 

It's actually not that easy to get infected. Drinking the water actually poses no risk. The presence of such a deadly microbe, however, is reason for concern. 

"This is the first time that it has been found in the drinking water in the United States," Louisiana state epidemiologist Raoult Ratard says. And the United States has not seen the last of the microbe, he says. Health officials are now trying to pin down the cause of previously unexplained encephalitis cases.

About 40 percent of cases of this dangerous brain inflammation have no known cause. "Five years ago, we would never have known that this recent case was caused by the amoeba," Ratard says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scrupulous when it comes to testing local water supplies whenever amoebic encephalitis is discovered, in order to discover its origins.

Two Louisiana residents, one a 20-year-old man from St. Bernard Parish died of amoebic encephalitis in 2011 after using tap water to rinse their nasal passages, using a popular device called a neti pot. Health officials assumed that contaminated tap water was the source of the infection.

The amoeba infected the brains of two other U.S. Children this past summer: a 12-year-old Florida boy, who died, and a 12-year-old Arkansas girl, who survived. She may be one of only three known to survive the infection in the United States.

These deaths may not be quite as rare as health officials used to think. "We're going to see more cases," Ratard says. Instead of three to five cases of amoebic encephalitis per year across the nation, "maybe we'll go to 10 a year," he says. "I don't expect we'll have a hundred."

Naegleria fowleri is only dangerous when it gains entry into the brain. It does that when water containing the amoeba gets inhaled very deeply, into the area where the roof of the nasal passages meets the floor of the brain.

"To get infected, the amoeba has to get to the ceiling of your nose - way, way up there," Ratard says. "At the top of the nose you have a little paper-thin plate made of bone with a bunch of holes, a little bit like a mosquito net. The holes are for the olfactory nerve. So the amoeba is crawling up the nerve and gets into the brain."

Therefore, drinking amoeba-contaminated water poses no risk, as the single-celled organisms can't survive in stomach acid. Normal bathing or showering isn't a risk because even if tap water is contaminated, it doesn't penetrate into the deepest nasal passages.

The recent deaths offer proof that humans live in a world of potentially lethal cells, which rarely strike out and kill.

Click to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Health

Heart pump, size of a golf ball, could change lives of millions of patients Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retired father-of-three, 63-year-old Harry Chivers suffered a heart attack last year. His health failing, he anxiously awaited for a possible heart transplant when he was offered the chance to become a pioneer in heart health research. Fitted with a heart pump ... continue reading


Do you know what a can of Coke really does to your body? Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although Coke and sodas are a favorite for people all over the world, sodas are something that slowly changes our health and can lead into a number of diseases from the high amount of processed sugar. Starting from the first 10 minutes after a can of Coke is consumed, ... continue reading


Discovery of five different kinds of prostate cancer heralded as breakthrough Watch

Image of While many men have prostate cancer, it can grow so slowly it might not cause any problems until the patient eventually dies of something else.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered the most common cancer among men can be classified into five types, depending on its DNA. This is a breakthrough in prostate cancer research, and once the type of cancer is identified, the patient's survival rate ... continue reading


8-year-old boy becomes youngest double-hand transplant patient Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Surgeons believe 8-year-old Zion Harvey is the youngest to receive a double-hand transplant. The boy lost both of his hands over a severe infection years ago and opted to go through a transplant with the support of his parents. After the initial success of the ... continue reading


World's first malaria vaccine wins approval from European drug regulators Watch

Image of Mosquirix must first win agreement from African governments as the vaccine only offers only partial protection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world's first malaria vaccine is a go with European drug regulators after it was recommended safe and effective for babies at risk of the 'mosquito-born disease' in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Called Mosquirix, the vaccine was developed by ... continue reading


560-pound man sets out to bike across the U.S. to lose weight and save his marriage Watch

Image of [Photo by: ABC News]

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To try to live a healthy life, get a job and save his failing marriage, a 560-pound man decided to embark on a biking journey across the United States. He has already traveled about 90 miles since he started last month and has lost around 60 pounds during the first two ... continue reading


Catholic organization's approach to female reproductive health a 'game changer' Watch

Image of Together with his colleagues, Dr. Thomas Hilgers developed NaPro (Natural Procreative) Technology. In Omaha in 1985, they founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, and in 1999 formally created the Creighton Model FertilityCare System.

By Gabrielle Cubera, CNA EWTN News

With the hope of providing authentic and ethical health care for women, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, creator of Natural Procreative Technology, has worked for decades to establish a medical network that studies, understands, and treats the female fertility cycle. Omaha, ... continue reading


Have scientists found the key to shut off aging? New study with worms finds success Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have uncovered how to switch off the aging process, during a recent study with worms, which could possibly lead to the process being successful in humans. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The new study showed that adult cells of worms shortly ... continue reading


New eye drops may soon replace cataract surgery Watch

Image of Vision could cease altogether if cataracts remain untreated. Cataracts cause more blindness worldwide than any other eye condition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inexpensive and easy to administer, a new eye drop may soon make cataract removal surgery obsolete. A frequent bane of existence that afflicts the elderly, the new drops dissolves the clumps of protein that clouds vision. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cataract ... continue reading


Superhero DNA desired by pharmaceutical researchers for new drugs Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They don't have the ability to fly or come with laser eyes, but there are people who exist today with the "superhero" genes. Similar to the figures portrayed in media, these people have ordinary lives with extraordinary physical abilities because of uncommon biological ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter