7 updates on brain-eating amoeba cases in the US

Cases of the bacteria that causes brain-eating amoeba infections, Naegleria fowleri, are continuing to increase in several U.S. states. Now, Indiana is the most recent place to report new infections, WBIW radio reported June 6. 

While these types of infections are rare, if acquired, they can become deadly. 

Here are seven notes on brain-eating amoeba infections:

  1. Historically, most infections occurred in southern U.S. states, but rising temperatures in the northern U.S. have created suitable environments for the bacteria to thrive in, increasing cases in states like Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota.

  2. According to CDC data, a majority of cases are acquired from lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and streams.
  3. In February, a 50-year-old man in California who had acquired a brain-eating amoeba infection was treated with nitroxoline, which is commonly prescribed for UTI infections, and his condition improved.

  4. In 2022, there were only three confirmed cases of Naegleria fowleri after exposure to freshwater in Iowa, Nebraska and Arizona, according to the CDC.

  5. Per CDC data, 2021, 2020 and 2019 had the same number of confirmed cases each year: three.

  6. Cases are more likely to occur in summer months like July and August and are most common in children under 15.

  7. Miltefosine is another drug that has successfully treated cases of brain-eating amoeba, according to the CDC.

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