Iowa Beach Closed After Swimmer Infected With Brain-Eating Amoeba

Health officials officials are testing the water in a southwest Iowa lake for a brain-eating amoeba after a Missouri resident was infected last week.

Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose

A lake in southwest Iowa has been closed after a Missouri resident who recently swam there was infected with a brain-eating amoeba.

The Iowa Department of Public Health shut down the beach at Lake of Three Fires State Park in Taylor County after the person was diagnosed with primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a rare brain infection that is usually fatal and caused by Naegleria fowleri.

“Testing to confirm the presence of Naegleria fowleri in Lake of Three Fires is being conducted in conjunction with the CDC and could take several days to complete,” health officials wrote in a press release. “The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services is working closely with the Department of Natural Resources to share information about this rare infection and will provide additional updates as test results become available.”

NEWS: We have confirmed a rare brain infection in a Missourian caused by an ameba called Naegleria fowleri. The infection is known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) - it is not contagious, but can be life threatening. The patient is being treated in ICU.


— Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (@HealthyLivingMo) July 7, 2022

The state’s Dept. of Public Health said the parasite is commonly found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.“Since 1962, only 154 known cases have been identified in the United States,” officials shared. “No additional suspected cases of PAM are currently being investigated in Missouri or Iowa.”

The patient is currently in the intensive care unit at a Missouri hospital. The news arrives just two years after a 13-year-old boy died from a brain-eating amoeba after his family vacationed in Florida.

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