Doctors warn deadly brain-eating amoeba in lakes and streams

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CLEVELAND-- Scientists are warning water lovers about a tiny microorganism living in certain bodies of water that want to make your brain their home.

"They like to grow in water, so you know, typically freshwater is their most concerning place for it to grow and warm water," Dr. Christine Alexander, chair of Family Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center said.

The brain eating amoebas can also be found in moist dirt.

Last summer an Ohio teen died just one week after returning from a whitewater trip to the U.S. National Whitewater Center in North Carolina.

Researchers said the rapids there were not enough to wipe out the deadly amoeba, which was later found in water samples taken at the park. "At levels that we haven't previously seen in environmental samples," a CDC official said.

"The brain doesn't deal well with amoebas," Dr. Alexander said. "Amoebas tend to-- like in this situation-- kind of balloon out and then can start to reproduce. And that's where it can do a lot of damage."

"We can't eradicate it from the lakes and rivers and streams. That's just not possible," a North Carolina official said.

Plugging your nose or wearing nose plugs is one few defenses you have to combat the evil organism from invading your brain.

Staying out of the water and away from the mud might not sound like the best alternative to beat the summer heat, but it sure beats brain eating amoebas.