Brain-eating amoebae are very rare, but warming waters may change that

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Scientists are concerned that climate change may be making N. fowleri infections more common. “In theory as the world heats up there will be more surface water at around 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit] so there will be more N. fowleri habitat” Maciver wrote. However, many factors, not just water temperature play a role in its occurrence.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the amoeba: For instance, why so few people contract its fatal disease, when we know the amoeba itself is widespread enough to be infecting far more people than its killing. “There is a tendency for PAM to occur in outbreaks,” Maciver and colleagues noted in a 2019 paper. They wrote it’s likely there have been more global deaths of it since the 1960s than the 400-plus that are currently identified.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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