Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that lives predominately in warm freshwater. Naegleria fowleri is acquired by people when infected water is forcibly aspirated into the nose. This can occur through recreational swimming, diving, or during sports like water skiing. Once acquired, the amoeba travels into the brain, causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). In the popular press, Naegleria fowleri is sometimes called the "brain-eating amoeba," and meningoencephalitis is sometimes referred to as Naegleriasis.
Naegleria fowleri is found around the world. Evidently, deaths due to N. fowleri are on the rise In the past, PAM cases were reported in the developed countries in people who swim in fresh water during the hot summer months .However, prolonged hot and dry periods due to global warming are causing higher freshwater temperatures that are coinciding with augmented amoebal densities in water supplies.
The treatment of choice is an intravenous drug called amphotericin B. Amphotericin B may also be instilled directly into the brain. Miltefosine is a drug that has shown promise, and it is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatment should be initiated as rapidly as possible, and immediate consultation with an infectious-diseases expert is highly recommended.