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Brain-eating Amoeba

by Mark Timmons October 19, 2013 8 Comments
Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba


What follows was written in 2013:

OK, to those of you who know me, you will say that I am safe from a brain-eating amoeba because it would certainly die of starvation. But seriously, folks... This sounds like a sci-fi movie plot, but it's real. Recently, a 4-year-old Mississippi boy died from playing on a "Slip n' Slide" in New Orleans. The cause of death was a rare, brain-eating amoeba. At first, officials thought the amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri, had been present in muddy water that the boy was playing in on the property. Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in freshwater streams, lakes, and rivers. However testing confirmed that the microscopic organism came from the St. Bernard Parish water system that fed the slide. THE CITY WATER SUPPLY! 


Matt Hamilton of The LA Times wrote this about the amoeba on September 21, 2013:

The primary risk of disease is when infected water enters the nose, according to the state's Department of Health and Hospitals. Once in the sinus, the amoeba travels along the nerves and crosses into the brain through tiny openings in the bone at the base of the forehead, Yoder said. Infection by the amoeba, which leads to a form of encephalitis, is rare but almost always deadly. Federal, state and locals official in St. Bernard Parish — a district with about 40,000 residents southeast of New Orleans — are trying to figure out how the brain-destroying amoeba entered the water supply. Possible factors include high temperatures along with low levels of chlorine in the water. Tests last week revealed that chlorine was almost undetectable, officials said.

The CDC has documented 132 infections from the Naegleria fowleri amoeba since 1962, and almost all of them were fatal. Stomach acid kills the amoeba, so tap water is safe to drink, but no one should not let water get up their noses while bathing or swimming in pools. People who flush their sinuses are advised to use water that has been boiled or purified by reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light. This is a classic case of where a whole-house Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection System would kill the Amoeba, as well as a plethora of other bacteria. Peace of mind comes with the installation of a whole-house ultraviolet disinfection system.

They are back


With all of this year's madness, 2020 will likely go down as one of the craziest years ever in history. To make matters worse, now city officials in Lake Jackson, Texas, issued a disaster declaration on September 26, 2020, in response to drinking water contaminated with a brain-eating amoeba. The city is under a "do not use water order" and has requested an emergency declaration from the state. This is not a joke - it is real and must be dealt with. At a minimum, the brain-eating amoeba will make you very sick, cause permanent damage, or DEATH!

This amoeba, called Naegleria Fowleri, is commonly found in bodies of warm freshwater such as streams, lakes, and rivers. The primary risk of infectious disease is when infected water enters the nose. Once in the sinus cavities, the amoeba travels along the nerves and crosses into the brain through tiny openings in the bone at the base of the forehead.

The Naegleria Fowleri can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that is almost always fatal. Stomach acid kills the amoeba so tap water is safe to drink, but it typically enters the body through the nose while bathing, swimming, or diving in pools. People who flush their sinuses are advised to use water that has been boiled or purified by reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light. Peace of mind comes with the installation of a whole-house ultraviolet disinfection system.

How to protect yourself (and your family)

So, can you drink the water but don't get any up your nose because the Naegleri Fowleri amoeba will eat your brains?

I'm sorry, maybe it's just me, but I am not drinking that water. Thank you very much. My nose is pretty close to my mouth. No way I am doing that! This amoeba is most commonly contracted when diving or swimming in water contaminated with it, but there are cases of people getting it from bathing or showering or accidentally getting water up to their nose in some fashion.

The brain-eating amoeba can be in the water supply, but so can other microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, virus, and cysts. There is technology available that can trap and kill these organisms so that you can have the peace of mind in knowing that your water is bacteria-free.

You may believe that the city is responsible for your water supply, but the sooner you take control of your water, the better off you will all be. We have known for quite some time that the water infrastructures in many cities are aging and even crumbling. It is said by many experts that Flint, Michigan was just the tip of the iceberg. Water is one of our most precious resources, and it's time we all take charge of our water. The technology of the 21st century is the solution.

What is The Solution to Bacterial Contamination and Stopping Brain-Eating Amoebas?

I recommend at a minimum, a two-prong approach using submicron filtration and ultraviolet disinfection. This involves a filter ahead of the ultraviolet light that has a Zeta charge of 51 millivolts. This filter is called The Interceptor and it utilized electro-adhesion to remove bacteria, cysts, and even brain-eating amoebas. However, this is a serious business and requires ultraviolet disinfection to be assured of killing the microorganism.

Ultraviolet light does an awesome job of killing just about any microorganism IF the water is very clear, so the sub-micron Interceptor filter ahead of the UV does double duty:

(1) it removes a significant portion of the microorganisms

(2) it “tightens” the filtration so that the water is much more clear, allowing the ultraviolet light to penetrate and kill the bacteria.

For an added degree of protection, efficiency, and longevity, you can include “step-down” filtration ahead of the Interceptor filter to extend the life of the Interceptor by trapping the larger particles ahead of it. We offer dual, triple, and even quad filtration (pictured below). It starts with a 5-micron filter, then steps down to a 1-micron filter, followed by a ½ micron filter before it gets to the Interceptor filter, which is just ahead of the ultraviolet light.

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Unlike chemical water disinfection, UV rapidly and effectively inactivates microorganisms through a physical process. When bacteria, viruses, and protozoa receive exposure to UV radiation, they are rendered incapable of reproducing and die. UV light is very effective against pathogenic organisms, including those responsible for cholera, polio, typhoid, hepatitis, and other bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases.

Like any ultraviolet disinfection system, the water should be free of iron, manganese, tannin, high hardness, and anything that can inhibit the transfer of ultraviolet light in the water. You need to eliminate any hiding places for the little critters.

Having a proper water system provides total home protection, disease control, and prevention. This gives you peace of mind in knowing that you and your family's water is protected from any bacterial contamination, not just brain-eating amoebas. You should take your water treatment seriously!

Be safe, my friends.

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October 21, 2013 Robert

Does the water have to be purified with reverse omosis and uv light or can it just be purified by reverse omosis?

October 23, 2013 Tim Davis

I received an article from an NIH researcher. They inspected two of the victims’ homes and found that Naegleria fowleri had formed and established colonies in a tankless water heater and a pipe even though they couldn’t find it in the public purified water supplying the homes. It’s an interesting read. They did not conclude that UV light kills the amoeba, having not tested that. I have a UV water pitcher and when I contacted the NIH they declined to say yay or nay because it was not tested against this amoeba. They did test and say that using previously boiled water was effective. I contacted them about salt and that’s why they sent a copy of their report. They tested salt and found that, while the amoeba can’t live in saltwater, it takes too much time for salt to kill them – over 8 hours did not result in the amoeba being completely killed. They tested and showed that distilled, or previously boiled water, or a filter (using a filter with an absolute pore size of ?1 ?m ), were the most effective protections. I am willing to send a copy of the article to anyone who wants it. It’s only 7 pages long and not difficult to understand.

I’ve been using a Water Pik and a sinus attachment since the 90s. Every day. I took NO precautions for a long time, just using warm tap water and salt. Had my system been infected, so would I have been infected. Until recently, I was just using a Brita filter (primarly for taste for my drinking water) and a UV water pitcher and boiled water (to make it warm and to dissolve salt into it). I am NOW using previously boiled water and boiling salt water to make my mixture. If there’s no amoeba in my water supply, I’m pretty safe. If, however, it gets in my water heater and colonizes, and if I have any cross contamination, it could be a problem. I don’t know how many people in the US rinse their sinuses, but I don’t personally know anyone else who does. That makes me think that 132 cases nationwide isn’t a great statistic. My local water supply doesn’t test for this because it’s no danger to people who drink the water. I’m thinking of using the UV, too, but or just UV and ineffective filtering, but that would be taking the chance that the UV works when the experts don’t know.

October 25, 2013 James Fitzgerald

is the LA/Palos Verdes water purification sufficient to kill the amoeba and use the city water for nasal rinse?

October 26, 2013 Emy

What if you have a salt softner to treat your well water because it saues amoebas cant survive in salt water?

October 29, 2013 Mark Timmons

I would use a RO that has Quantum Disinfection as well, like this:

Quantum Disinfection is better than UV!

November 01, 2013 Mark Timmons

Well, they can’t survive in sea water, but salt brine is much lower salinity. I don’t know at what level they cannot survive.

November 02, 2013 Mark Timmons

I would not bet my life on it!

November 04, 2013 Mark Timmons

UV is very effective in killing Naegleria fowleri bacteria, as well as all other bacteria. However, the problem is that the water needs to be clean, clear and free of debris so that the little critters do not have any place to hide.

This is exactly why we designed this UV System:

It provides the proper prefiltration to keep the UV chamber free of any debris and the final filter (before the ultraviolet chamber) is “sub-micron” which is a barrier to the bacteria.

Stage 1: 5 Micron Magna Pre-Filter – The first stage traps all particles above 5 microns, which is typically 70-80% of the solids, silt, sand, and sediment.
Stage 2: 1 Micron Magna Pre-Filter – Next, the second stage “steps-down” to 1 micron which is the size of Giardia and Cryptosporidium Cysts. At this juncture, nearly 100% of the solids have been removed.
Stage 3: Interceptor Sub-Micron Filter – Now, it’s time to go through the Disrupter media with a Zeta potential of 51 millivolts. Many contaminants are actually “magnetically” removed from the water supply and “secured” in the Charged Filter. It stops things like bacteria, lead, tannin and Chromium 6.
Stage 4: Pulsar Ultraviolet Disinfection Chamber – The Pulsar UV is the most advanced ultraviolet system on the market today. It assures 100% destruction of bacteria, parasites, virus, and cysts when preceded by the Interceptor cartridge. Solid-state computerized system tells you exactly when to perform maintenance.

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