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Environmental Testing Services

Category Press Release
Publish Date 10/20/2022
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Confirmed Naegleria fowleri Infection Results in the First Known Fatality in Nebraska
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides rapid PCR testing of environmental samples for Naegleria fowleri to identify this waterborne amoeba to help protect against life-threatening infections.

Cinnaminson, New Jersey, October 20th, 2022 

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed an infection caused by an amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri, often referred to as the brain-eating amoeba, was responsible for the death of a child that had swam in the Elkhorn River. The tragic death is the first known fatal infection in the state of Nebraska. 

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services:
Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that is commonly found in warm freshwater lakes, rivers, canals, and ponds throughout the United States. It can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that may result when water containing the amoeba rushes up the nose and reaches the brain. The infection is extremely rare, but nearly always fatal. 

In addition to warm lakes and rivers, CDC reports that Naegleria fowleri can potentially also be found in:

  • 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. Naegleria fowleri grows best at higher temperatures up to 115°F (46°C) and can survive for short periods at higher temperatures.
  • Soil

“Fortunately, environmental samples can be tested for Naegleria fowleri utilizing exceptionally sensitive PCR techniques,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “This form of testing provides for highly accurate results and EMSL has been providing this service for years to help health departments, environmental professionals, water utilities and industry protect the public.” 

EMSL Analytical has also sponsored an educational video about Naegleria fowleri that can be seen at: https://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 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-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC 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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