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Deadly Amoeba Naegleria fowleri Found in Louisiana Tap Water

EMSL Analytical provides PCR testing services for the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in water samples and other environmental samples.


According to the Los Angeles Times, Naegleria fowleri, has been detected in the Louisiana homes of two people who died in 2011 from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The two victims reportedly fell ill after clearing their nasal passages with neti pots containing salt water.

Health teams inspected the victim’s homes to test water samples for Naegleria fowleri, but in both cases their water supplies were free of the amoeba. However, investigators detected the amoeba in a tankless water heater at one of the homes and found them in the sink, tub, and shower faucets of other.

Naegleria fowleri grows best in warm freshwater environments, such as lakes and rivers, hot springs, wells, swimming pools lacking appropriate levels of chlorine or regular cleanings, water heaters, warm water discharges from industrial plants, and soil, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An infection from Naegleria fowleri is very rare, but it has an estimated fatality rate of 98%. The illness occurs when the amoeba travels through the nose and olfactory nerve into the brain. It then destroys brain tissue and causes the deadly brain infection.

Symptoms of Naegleria fowleri include fever, vomiting, seizures, and coma. Most victims die within a week.

“Most cases of Naegleria fowleri are found in southern states, and the majority of those sickened by the amoeba become infected after swimming in warm lakes or rivers,” states Diane Miskowski, MPH, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading environmental testing laboratory. “This amoeba often goes undetected, but EMSL Analytical provides testing for Naegleria fowleri from environmental samples using powerful DNA amplification methodologies.”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies. Please see our website for a complete listing of accreditations.


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