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The death of a child in Nebraska this summer sparked a major concern over a dearly brain-eating amoeba. Climate change is fueling the rare but deadly Naegleria fowleri which lives in fresh water and can enter the body through the nose. From there, it can travel to the brain and begin to destroy tissue.

Source: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell/YouTube

Experts are worried that climate change is enhancing the amoeba, which is making it appear in parts of the United States where it typically is not found. The Naegleria grows best in warm waters and can even tolerate cold temperatures.

Although it is rare to get sick from the amoeba, if you do, it is lethal. Only four out of 151 people have survived the infection in the last 60 years.

Source: WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando/YouTube

Typically, it is found in southern states, but a study found that the amoeba is now moving to midwestern areas, and it’s even been found in Minnesota. Warmer temperatures mean that pathogens can survive and grow. When areas flood due to extreme weather events, pathogens can spread through areas.

Warmer waters and weather also mean prime breeding grounds for microbes and bacteria. Flesh-eating bacteria and brain-eating amoeba require warm temperatures to thrive. Flesh-eating bacteria thrive in flooded areas. As floods become more commonplace and warming waters increase, scientists warn these diseases could as well.

When swimming in freshwater, it’s important to try not to put your head underwater. It will not affect a person if they drink the water, but it is extremely important not to get infected water in your nose. Read more about how you can protect yourself on the CDC website.

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