Summer Water in Lakes and Rivers May Contain Dangerous Amoeba
Summers in Texoma were made for splashing in the water. If your water fun finds you in area lakes and rivers the City of Wichita Falls Public Works Department and the Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District want you to be aware of the risk of Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic bacteria that may be in the water.
I know, we hear this every year, but it's worth repeating and it's something to keep in mind as we head to the lakes this summer. Naegleria fowleri is found in all natural bodies of water like those rivers, lakes, and ponds that we and our kids love to splash around in. The amoeba can infect children and young adults by being forcibly injected into their sinus cavity. Once in the sinus it can cause Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). While these infections are possible, they are also rare as almost the only way for infection to take place is for the amoeba to enter through the nose.
Some easy ways to avoid infection are to teach your children to hold their nose or use nose clips when playing in rivers and lakes, especially when skiing, jet skiing, jumping or diving. It's also wise to never play in warm, muddy, stagnant water.
You should contact your health care provider immediately if your child experiences a headache, fever, nausea or vomiting, a stiff neck, loss of balance, disorientation, hallucinations, or seizures within a couple days of swimming in a natural body of water.
This amoeba does not live in swimming pools or hot tubs that are properly maintained, cleaned, and treated with chlorine and filtration.
Naegleria fowleri and the potential for Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis is very rare, but something to be aware of as you enjoy your summer on area lakes.