Western Iowa Beach Closed After Woman Infected with Brain-Eating Amoeba

A freshwater beach in Southern Iowa closed on Friday after a brain-eating amoeba infected a Missouri resident.

An unnamed female swimmer from Missouri was in the water at the Lake of Three Fires in Taylor County towards the end of June, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed that she contracted a brain-eating amoeba in the lake.

The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed that the female swimmer had been diagnosed with “Naegleria fowleri”, a single-celled, free-living amoeba that can cause a “rare life-threatening infection of the brain”.

Lisa Cox, a communications director for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said that the Lake of Three Fires is a likely source of the Naegleria fowleri amoeba.

“It’s strongly believed by public health experts that the lake is a likely source, but we are not limiting the investigation to that source and it’s not confirmed. Additional public water sources in Missouri are being tested as well,” Cox said.

Cox added that Iowa officials only discovered the infection on Wednesday, and epidemiologists are working with the unnamed female swimmer’s family to learn about her recent activities that could have posed a risk.

Missouri state health officials said that the Missouri swimmer is undergoing treatment in a hospital intensive care unit.

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