The parasite, Naegleria fowleri, is a protozoan.
Those who contract Naegleria fowleri develop a rapidly fatal meningoencephalitis, hence the nickname "brain-eating amoeba."
This protozoan is typically found in warm bodies of fresh water (ponds, lakes, rivers, hot springs). It can also be found in soil and poorly or unchlorinated swimming pools.
Once in the nasopharynx, Naegleria fowleri attacks the brain and CNS after traveling through the cribriform plate.
Diagnosis of Naegleria fowleri infection is made with lumbar puncture, after examining the CSF. After extracting a CSF sample, a flagellation test confirms Naegleria ameboid presence.
Patients who are found to be infected by Naegleria fowleri are treated with Amphotericin B.
Survival after infection is rare, and there is a 95% fatality rate in diagnosed patients.
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