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Local News

Austin Public Health confirms death of individual from amebic infection after swimming in Lake LBJ

todayAugust 30, 2023

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Austin Public Health reported the death of a Travis County resident who died after developing an illness caused by amebic meningitis infection after swimming in Lake LBJ earlier this month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, amebic meningitis is a rare brain infection that is caused by Naegleria fowleri and is usually fatal. Naegleria fowleri is a free-living ameba that lives in warm fresh water and soil around the world and infects people when the ameba enters the body through the nose.

Austin Public Health is urging people to take precautions when swimming in natural bodies of water amid the ongoing, intense heat Texas is currently experiencing. People are reminded to hold their noses shut or use nose clips if going under water. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid water-related activities during periods of high water temperature and low water levels, and avoid stirring up the sediment in shallow, warm freshwater areas. Amebic meningitis does not occur if water is swallowed and is not found in salt water or properly maintained, chlorinated pools.

Symptoms of an amebic meningitis infection start with severe headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, seizures and coma and can lead to death. PAM infections are rare, with only 39 known infected individuals in Texas between 1962 and 2022 and can cause severe illness up to nine days after exposure.

Earlier this month, the Lower Colorado Authority said toxic algae was detected in Lake LBJ and Inks Lake. LCRA said the toxicity was detected in the algae itself and not in the lake water. If someone experiences adverse symptoms after swimming, they should contact the Texas Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.


Written by: Michelle Layton

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