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Popular Aussie Water Spot Shut Down After Brain-Eating Amoeba Discovered

Popular Aussie Water Spot Shut Down After Brain-Eating Amoeba Discovered

Little off-the-beaten-track watering holes are Australia's thing.

We've got plenty of them and some are just a short drive out of the city, where you can relax without a whiff of another person who is also hunting for that Instagram shot.

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But because it's nature and because it's Australia, sadly some things that are pretty can also be deadly. Officials have had to shut down a popular water spot just outside of Perth because researchers casually found a brain-eating amoeba.

The Parks and Wildlife Service of Western Australia revealed it had closed Serpentine Falls this week because the deadly Naegleria Fowleri was discovered during tests.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale released a statement, saying: "Infection occurs where water is forced into a person's nose at pressure from jumping, falling or diving into the water.

"If you or someone you know has been swimming at Serpentine Falls and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a medical professional."

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The spot will be closed until further notice.

The various stages of growth of the micro-organism. Credit: CDC
The various stages of growth of the micro-organism. Credit: CDC

Naegleria Fowleri is described as a shapeshifting free-living, bacteria-eating microorganism that can cause a fatal brain infection called naegleriasis.

If you're unlucky enough to contract that infection then you'll experience meningitis-like symptoms, including headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, a stiff neck, confusion, hallucinations and seizures before dying after one or two weeks.

It was first discovered in Australia in the 1960s but it appears it has also spread to America. The bacteria is typically found in bodies of warm freshwater, like ponds, lakes, rivers, and hot springs.

The only way to treat it is to be administered the anti-fungal drug amphotericin B, which helps stop the microorganism from growing. Terrifyingly though, even with that treatment, death happens 95 per cent of the time, so if you get this bad boy up your nose, you're pretty much stuffed.

If you're thinking of heading to the Serpentine Falls and get excited that no one is around, this is why.

Featured Image Credit: Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale

Topics: News, Australia

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

 

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