Anorak News | Global warming is eating your brains

Global warming is eating your brains

by | 15th, September 2013

Naegleria fowleri

WHAT can Global Warming not be blamed for? The Courier-Journal reports that it is eating your brains:

Brain eating amoeba strikes again, as some wonder whether global warming will help spread it to the north

James Bruggers writes:

It’s so rare, but when the brain-eating amoeba gets into someone, the results have been pretty much always fatal. Now, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans reports that Naegleria fowleri is in the St. Bernard Parish drinking water system.

“While the water is safe to drink, there is a risk if the amoeba enters the nose,” State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry told the T-P on Thursday. “There are basic precautions that families can take — such as chlorinating their pools and avoiding getting water in their noses — to protect themselves, though infection from this amoeba is very rare.”


One question I have is whether this is one more example of how a warming planet could spread tropical or warm-weather problems to the North. That seems to be on others’ minds, too.


Seems like this is something to pay attention to — as in don’t use a neti-pot without first boiling the water, and maybe use nose plugs when swimming or diving. National Geographic has an informative report on the amoeba including a Q and A and a creepy photo of it, with a strange smiling face-like image.

An extract from that Q and A  tells us:

We don’t have data that says infection from Naegleria fowleri is becoming more common. In the last few years there have been four to five cases per yearWhat has changed recently is that cases have appeared in places we had never seen before—like Minnesota, Indiana, and Kansas. This is evidence that the amoeba is moving farther north. In the past it was always found in warmer weather states.

And it’s not getting all that much warmer in Minnesota.

Wikipedia tells us that the brain-eating bug has not been documented for all that long:

Physicians M. Fowler and R. F. Carter first described human disease caused by amebo-flagellates in Australia in 1965

But if this protozoa is moving North as the world heats up, why does the British Medial Journal says it could well have claimed lives in England back in 1909 and Northern Ireland 1937 – “These observations may indicate that this disease occurs in the British Isles.”

So. It might have been in the North all along?  And in the first half of the 20th Century,man-made global warming wasn’t a big issue.

Posted: 15th, September 2013 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink