Feeds

Brain-sucking parasitic killer menaces warming lake waters

Death on the installment plan never sounded so good

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.