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Wichita Falls Issues Warning of Dangerous Amoebas in Lakes

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For citizens of Wichita Falls who plan to swim in area lakes this summer, make sure you are cautious of the possible presence of amoebas in the water.

The Wichita Falls Public Information Office issued this press release today as a precautionary measure.

With the region experiencing lower than normal lake levels, the water that remains in area lakes will be warmer than normal.  The low lake levels, coupled with high water temperatures and stagnant or slow-moving water will only serve to increase the risk of contact with the deadly Naegleria fowleri amoeba.

The City of Wichita Falls Public Works Department and the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Health District are once again teaming up to caution citizens who will be swimming in area lakes and rivers, during the coming summer months about the possible presence of Naegleria fowleri and how to protect their children from this highly preventable waterborne disease.

Naegleria fowleri is found in all natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, ponds, tanks and streams. The amoeba can infect children by being forcibly injected into a child’s sinus cavity during recreational activity such as skiing, jet skiing, tubing, jumping or diving.  Once in the sinus, the amoeba can cause the fatal disease Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM).  While contact with the amoeba in natural bodies of water is common, infection is rare due primarily to the only route of infection being through the nose.

Two key precautions that citizens can take to help protect their children include:
1. Never recreate in warm, stagnant waters.
2. Teach children to hold their nose or use nose clips when recreating in any natural water body especially when skiing, jet skiing, tubing, jumping or diving.

If your child starts to experience any of the following symptoms within a couple of days of recreating in a natural body of water, contact your health care provider immediately:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Loss of balance
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures.

The amoeba does not live in swimming pools or hot tubs that are properly cleaned, maintained and treated with Chlorine and Filtration. This disease is very rare. The use of smart prevention strategies can allow for a safe, relaxing summer swim season. For more information on Naegleria fowleri and Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis: visit, the CDC’s website or contact, the Wichita Falls/Wichita County Health Department at 761-7697, or the Cypress Water Treatment Plant at 691-1153.

NEXT: How Much Rain Does Wichita Falls Need to End the Drought?

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