Feeds

Brain-sucking parasitic killer menaces warming lake waters

Death on the installment plan never sounded so good

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Eat your heart out, David Cronenberg. Mad CIA frankenscience runs amuck in the American heartland. Brain-wasting parasite fans techno-paranoia. The pitch would write itself.

Unfortunately, the reality of biological science is sometimes more than the stuff that cinematic sci-fi fantasy is made on. American health officials recently have grown alarmed at an unusual spike in incidences of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), a lethal affliction of the central nervous system caused by a rare warm water amoeba, AP reports.

The parasite typically thrives in warm fresh water and enters through the nostrils, where it leads to rapid olfactory necrosis. It then follows the nerves into the cranial cavity itself, where it devours the brain tissue. Coma, and, almost unfailingly, death, follow within a couple of weeks.

Ready for a swim?

The odds of contracting the rare parasite, Naegleria fowleri, are undoubtedly slim. From 1995 to 2004, only 23 people in America died from this Ridley Scott-worthy succubus. However, six have died in America this year alone. Although the sample is admittedly small, and therefore of scientifically questionable value, the amoeba's preference for warm water in a rapidly warming world has caught the attention of those who track such outbreaks.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in waterborne illnesses for the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC). "This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better. In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

An omen of global warming scourges to come? We shall see. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.