Huntington Beach, CA, September 27th, 2021
Last month, a county’s Health Services Agency announced a local boy had been diagnosed with an extremely rare infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Testing performed by the California Department of Public Health and specialty laboratories were positive for evidence of Naegleria fowleri, the amoeba responsible for PAM. The most likely source of infection for this child was from swimming in a freshwater lake identified in Northern California, according to the agency. Tragically, the boy later passed away due to the infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that people can become infected with Naegleria fowleri if water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes, ponds, rivers, and canals. The amoeba travels up the nose to the brain where it causes PAM, which destroys brain tissue and has a fatality rate of over 97%.
The actions people can take to help reduce their risk of infection, provided by the Tehama County Health Services Agency, include:
- Swimming in a swimming pool instead of untreated bodies of water like lakes and rivers.
- Holding your nose or using nose clips when taking part in water-related activities.
- Avoiding putting your head underwater in hot springs and other warm freshwater bodies.
- Avoiding water-related activities in all warm freshwater bodies during periods of high temperatures.
- Avoiding digging in or stirring up mud and scum while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.
“Naegleria fowleri does not cause illness if swallowed but can be fatal if it travels up the nose,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at LA Testing. “LA Testing’s network of laboratories identifies Naegleria fowleri from environmental samples by utilizing extremely accurate PCR techniques.”
LA Testing has also sponsored an educational video about Naegleria fowleri that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/vLT82VMnNgQ.
To learn more about testing for Naegleria fowleri or other aquatic, environmental, health, and safety services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com, or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash, and smoke damage, particulates, and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health, and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego, and Ontario.