What We Do—and Don't—Know About Brain-Eating Amoebas
CDC scientist breaks down infection risk and story behind Arkansas girl's illness.
A news release Friday from the Arkansas Department of Health says the source of the parasite is most likely a sandy-bottom lake at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock. A similar case was linked to the park in 2010.
This rare form of parasitic meningitis—primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)—is caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. That microscopic amoeba—part of the class of life called protozoans—is a naturally occurring organism that normally feeds on bacteria and tends to live in the sedimentary layer of warm lakes and ponds.
(See "Giant Amoebas Found in Deepest Place on Earth.")
To find out more about Naegleria fowleri, National Geographic got in touch with Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist at the Centers for