Does Amoeba really Eat Human Brain?

Does Amoeba really eat human brain?

Amoeba is a single-celled protozoan. Although they are very small, most of them are only 10-30 microns, they have all the five internal organs. They even have a mouth, a pharynx, and an anus. Due to the different reproductive methods, they sometimes look like a round ball in their lives, called cysts; sometimes they become polygonal and become trophozoites. In the trophozoite stage, they can stretch out their hands and feet to move quickly. With the movement, their shape constantly changes, so they are called amoeba.

 

There are many species of amoeba. It is mainly divided into 2 categories: 

  1. Parasitic Amoeba
  2. Free Life Amoeba

Amoeba parasites parasitizing the human body are the most common amoeba histolytica, which can cause amoebic dysentery and sometimes liver abscess, lung abscess and meningitis. 

The free-living amoeba mainly lives in natural waters, relying on bacteria and other microorganisms in the water to survive. 

Free-living amoeba protozoa include Acanthamoeba, Nagri, etc., many of which can cause human diseases. The amoeba that causes children's death in the United States is Nagriya flexneri in the genus Nagri.

 

How can amoeba enter the human brain to eat it?

Nagri-Amoeba flexneri loves heat and humidity, and mainly lives in rivers, ponds, and puddles. They may even be found in hot water and damp soil. In the water, they mainly live in the form of trophozoites, sometimes they grow long flagella, and sometimes they stretch out different forms of hands and feet, and they are very active. 

When it encounters a person, it first enters the human nasal cavity, then passes through the nasal mucosa, and drills into the human brain along the olfactory nerve. 

Therefore, most people who are sick swim, and they often have a history of swimming in unclean water before getting sick. Sometimes they may be infected by washing their hair or face with river water.

 

When there is no water and food, the amoebic trophozoite will form a double-layer sac outside the body, wrapping itself into a spherical shape and hiding it inside to avoid death. This kind of cyst may flutter and spread in the air together with the dust, and when it encounters water suitable for survival, the cyst will be removed and become a trophozoite again. Such cysts can also infect the human body. 

Therefore, a few cases have no history of swimming and only exposure to dust. This shows that there are other ways to infect the human body by Nagri-Amoeba flexneri, and it is likely to be infected by air inhalation. 

 

Is Human Brain Food for Amoeba to Eat?

Nagri-Amoeba flexneri penetrates into the human brain and can reproduce rapidly, and then spread along the meninges to the center of the brain, causing purulent meningoencephalitis, vascular hemorrhage and brain parenchymal necrosis. 

Because the protozoa flexneri amoeba feeds on bacteria or other microorganisms in nature, they often live with many bacteria in their bodies, so they may bring bacteria into the brain and cause bacterial inflammation. 

Therefore, the so-called Nagri Amoeba flexneri can "eat" the human brain, in fact, refers to the inflammation and destruction of brain tissue caused by the protozoa entering the human brain, and it is not really "brain-eating".

 

Showing Amoeba Eating Human Brain
Brain Eating Amoeba

It only takes 5-8 days from the time the protozoa penetrates the brain to the appearance of meningoencephalitis symptoms. The initial symptoms of an infected person are headache, vomiting, sore throat, and runny nose. 

Since the protozoa penetrates into the brain through the olfactory nerve, abnormal smell and taste are often early symptoms that are not noticed. After 2 to 3 days of onset, the patient has worsened headaches, vomiting, and high fever, with a body temperature of 39-40°C. 

Once the majority of patients are sick, the hope of survival is very slim, and most people will die within one week. From 1965 to the present, 200 to 300 cases have been reported worldwide, with only 7 survivors. 

 

Is there any Amoeba flexneri in Eastern Countries?

Infection with Nagria flexneri amoeba is a newly discovered disease in recent decades. Approximately half of the previously reported cases occurred in the United States. The first case in my country occurred in Zhumadian, Henan Province in 1978, and was reported by Shanghai First Medical College in 1984. 

Later, Beijing Friendship Hospital reported 1 case each in 1991 and 1996, 1 ​​case was reported in Qiongzhong County, Hainan in 2003, and 1 case was reported in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province in 2006. 

All patients eventually died. It is worth noting that as the global climate warms, the disease may continue to increase.


Where does Nagri Amoeba flexneri live? 

Nagri Amoeba flexneri mainly lives in water, and it is very heat-resistant, even in hot spring water. The main way to prevent infection is not to swim, bathe, or wash your face in unclean river, lake, pond and hot spring water, and pay attention when using long-term stagnant water pipes. It is best to use a nose clip when swimming to prevent dirty water from flowing into the nose.

 

Latest Information about Brain Eating Amoeba

Recently, the media reported that six people in the southern United States were killed by an amoeba. All the dead were boys. The amoeba, known as the "brain-eating amoeba", can penetrate into the brain from the human nose and "eat" the human brain. 

This protozoan lives in lakes, rivers, ponds, and polluted hot springs and swimming pools. People worry that as the world warms, the number of protozoan killings will increase.

 

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