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Nature & Environment Parasitic Meningitis: Arkansas Reports Rare Cases of Waterborne Illness

Parasitic Meningitis: Arkansas Reports Rare Cases of Waterborne Illness

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First Posted: Jul 26, 2013 04:30 PM EDT
Identifying malaria parasites
The agency took samples from various bodies of water in the area to look for changes of the parasite spreading. (Photo : Flickr.com/Gates Foundation)

A rare case of parasitic meningitis was recently spotted in Arkansas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The CDC notes that this rare waterborne illness was seen in Willow Springs Water Park, the southern portion of Little Rock. Upon discovery of the case, the Arkansas Department of Health shut down the area.

Parasitic meningitis enters the body through the nose, namely when a person goes swimming in freshwater warm areas, including rivers and lakes.

The CDC said that people can avoid coming down with parasitic meningitis, which can actually destroy brain tissue when temperatures are high and water levels are low.

Here are risk factors to watch out for, courtesy of the CDC.

  • Bodies of warm freshwater, such as lakes and rivers
  • Geothermal (naturally hot) water, such as hot springs
  • Warm water discharge from industrial plants
  • Geothermal (naturally hot) drinking water sources
  • Soil
  • Swimming pools that are poorly maintained, minimally-chlorinated, and/or un-chlorinated
  • Water heaters with temperatures less than 47°C 

The agency took samples from various bodies of water in the area to look for changes of the parasite spreading. The state health Department is also taking extreme caution to detect various areas for other potential cases.

Since 1962 alone, Florida has noted 33 cases of parasitic meningitis. Let's hope no new outbreaks occur. 

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