Researchers Target Killer Amoeba Naegleria fowleri
The deadly Naegleria fowleri amoeba lives in many Florida lakes and makes headlines every summer, when water temperatures rise and health experts warn swimmers to stay out of the water.
It's responsible for a rare brain infection that has killed 30 people in Florida -- including three Central Florida boys in 2007 -- yet researchers and health officials still know little about the amoeba. And much of what they do know dates to studies from the 1970s.
Now, scientists at the University of Florida are launching a new round of research on the killer amoeba.
"We do feel that this is an important disease. It is neglected, in terms of funding and attention, until there's a tragedy," said Dr. Amanda Rice of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute. "While this is not a very common disease, when it does strike, it is incredibly tragic."