Experts caution swimming in lakes, rivers during hot weather - - Jackson, MS

Experts caution swimming in lakes, rivers during hot weather

BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It can't even be seen by the naked eye, but lurking in many lakes and rivers in Mississippi is something that -- in rare cases -- can be deadly if it reaches your brain.

Scientists call it Naegleria fowleri.

You may know it by another name: the brain-eating amoeba.

"I'd never heard of it," Jackson resident Tassie Johnson said.

Most of the people we talked to at the Ross Barnett Reservoir hadn't, either.

It's only found in freshwater lakes, rivers, creeks and sometimes untreated pools.

Swallowing the contaminated water won't hurt you, but if it goes into your nose, the organism can reach your brain and cause serious medical complications, even death.

Cheap nose clips can prevent that.

Almost all the kids playing in the Ross Barnett Reservoir on Sunday weren't wearing any while our cameras were rolling, though.

"I think for the parents who come out here on the regular, and their kids are always out here, I think they should look more into it and take better precautions, as far as their children going out into the water," Johnson said.

Thrillseekers jumping into the Pearl River didn't wear nose plugs, either.

The warmer the water, experts say, the higher chance those amoebas will be there.

"Amoebas? You know, I don't think about those, because I never hear about it. Maybe in other countries, you hear about it, but not here," Florence resident Grey Boyles said.

Boyles brings up a good point.

The Centers for Disease Control says in the last 52 years, the Magnolia State had only one documented case of someone infected by this organism.

Two years ago, a four-year-old child from Mississippi died after contracting the amoeba on a water slide in Louisiana.

"I have a niece that's four years old, and I wouldn't bring her out here," Jackson resident Kendric Bean said.

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