Feeds

Brain-sucking parasitic killer menaces warming lake waters

Death on the installment plan never sounded so good

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.