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Environmental Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 9/23/2019
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Deadly Waterborne Amoeba Contracted After Swim at Water Park
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides PCR testing services for Naegleria fowleri to provide for the rapid identification of this waterborne amoeba from environmental samples.

Raleigh, NC, September 23rd , 2019

Public health officials, along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Cumberland County Department of Public Health, announced that an individual passed away earlier this year after contracting an illness caused by an amoeba. Amoeba is naturally present in warm freshwater during the summer and was contracted in a 6 acre man-made lake at a water park in North Carolina.

According to a statement from the NCDHHS, laboratory testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the individual’s illness was caused by Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba (one-celled living organism) commonly found in warm freshwater. Naegleria fowleri, referred to as the brain-eating amoeba, does not cause illness if swallowed but can be fatal if forced up the nose, which can occur when diving, water-skiing or during other water activities.

“If the amoeba enters the nose, it can travel to the brain where it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is a devastating infection of the brain that is usually fatal,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “In the United States, the majority of infections have been caused by the amoeba from freshwater located in southern-tier states. The CDC reports that Naegleria fowleri can be found in bodies of warm freshwater, such as lakes and rivers; geothermal (naturally hot) water, such as hot springs; warm water discharge from industrial plants; geothermal (naturally hot) drinking water sources; swimming pools that are poorly maintained, minimally-chlorinated, and/or un-chlorinated; water heaters, it grows best at high temperatures up to 115°F (46°C) and can survive for short periods at higher temperatures; and soil. This amoeba has even been implicated in the past for PAM infections related to the use of neti pots used to flush out sinuses.”

EMSL Analytical offers environmental testing services for Naegleria fowleri utilizing highly sensitive PCR techniques that provide for extremely accurate and rapid results. The laboratory specialists at EMSL have sponsored an educational video about Naegleria fowleri that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/vLT82VMnNgQ.

To learn more about testing for Naegleria fowleri or other environmental, health and safety services, please contact EMSL Analytical at www.EMSL.com, call (800)220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.


About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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