‘The amoeba typically live in lake bottoms, grazing off algae and bacteria in the sediment. Beach said people become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose — say, by doing a cannonball off a cliff — the amoeba can latch onto the person’s olfactory nerve.
The amoeba destroys tissue as it makes its way up to the brain.
People who are infected tend to complain of a stiff neck, headaches and fevers, Beach said. In the later stages, they’ll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes.
Once infected, most people have little chance of survival. Some drugs have been effective stopping the amoeba in lab experiments, but people who have been attacked rarely survive, Beach said.
“Usually, from initial exposure it’s fatal within two weeks,” Beach said.’
Followup to Brain-Swelling Amoeba Blamed For 2nd Child’s Death.