What was bothering Aaron was an amoeba, a microscopic organism called Naegleria fowleri that attacks the body through the nasal cavity, quickly eating its way to the brain. The doctors said he probably picked it up a week before while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu.
Such attacks are extremely rare, though some health officials have put their communities on high alert, telling people to stay away from warm, standing water.
...According to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], Naegleria infected 23 people from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials say they've noticed a spike in cases, with six Naegleria-related cases so far — all of them fatal.
Beyond the immediate obvious reactions when reading this, two things struck me. First was the knee-jerk reference to Global Warming:
"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational water-born illnesses for the CDC.
"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."
Incidentally, what kind of weirdo acquires a recreational water-born illness? "Why did you get hepatitis?" "Oh! I was bored and it seemed like something to do."
Texas health officials also have issued news releases about the dangers of amoeba attacks and to be cautious around water. People "seem to think that everything can be made safe, including any river, any creek, but that's just not the case," said Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
with the sort of `something must be done, the state will buy everyone a full-size cocoon, a gas-mask and a sherbet lemon'-type statements we now get regularly from British politicians.