Naegleria fowleri : Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/19/2020

Naegleria fowleri is a type of amoeba that can infect the brain and cause a fatal illness. It is common throughout the world and lives in soil and warm freshwater.

The amoeba makes its way into brain tissue and causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). PAM is rare but almost always fatal. Signs and symptoms start about 1 day to 1 week after exposure and may include

Later symptoms include

Causes of a Naegleria fowleri infection

The organism infects people when warm freshwater containing the organism forcefully enters the nose. This can occur through water-related activities, including swimming, jumping, or diving. Participating in sports like waterskiing or tubing behind a boat also are risk factors for contracting the infection.

Other naegleria fowleri infection


Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.