Naegleria Infection (cont.)

How will the public know if a lake or other water body has Naegleria?

Recreational water users should assume that there is always a low level of risk whenever they enter warm freshwater (for example, when swimming, diving, or waterskiing) in southern-tier states. Posting signs is unlikely to be an effective way to prevent infections. This is because the location and number of amebae in the water can vary over time. In addition, posted signs might create a misconception that bodies of water without signs are Naegleria fowleri-free.

How can I reduce the risk of infection with Naegleria fowleri?

Naegleria fowleri is found in many warm freshwater lakes and rivers in the United States, particularly in southern tier states. It is likely that a low risk of Naegleria fowleri infection will always exist with recreational use of warm freshwater lakes, rivers, and hot springs. The low number of infections makes it difficult to know why a few people have been infected compared to the millions of other people using the same or similar waters across the U.S. The only certain way to prevent a Naegleria fowleri infection is to refrain from water-related activities in or with warm, untreated, or poorly-treated water.

If you do plan to take part in water-related activities, some measures that might reduce risk include:

  • Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
  • Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater.
  • Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

SOURCE: Naegleria FAQs.

Last Editorial Review: 7/5/2011 2:46:03 PM