Naegleria infection causes a disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (muh-ning-go-un-sef-uh-LIE-tis). This disease causes brain inflammation and destruction of brain tissue.
Generally beginning within two to 15 days of exposure to the amoeba, signs and symptoms of naegleria infection may include:
- A change in the sense of smell or taste
- Sudden, severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of balance
These signs and symptoms can progress rapidly. They typically lead to death within a week.
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you develop a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck and vomiting, particularly if you have recently been in warm, fresh water.