General News

20 February, 2024

Amoebic meningitis warning

Residents are urged to be aware of amoebic meningitis.

By Nicholas Croker, Cadet Journalist

Amoebic meningitis warning - feature photo

With recent air and water temperature rises, those living in the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) should take precautions around untreated or poorly treated water to protect themselves from amoebic meningoencephalitis, an extremely rare brain infection found in warm, fresh water and soil.

“Every summer we remind communities that warm conditions [and warmer water] mean any unchlorinated water supply that seasonally exceeds 30 degrees or continually exceeds 25 degrees may be at risk,” says WNSWLHD public health director Priscilla Stanley.

“[The disease] cannot survive in water that is clean, cool, and adequately chlorinated.” At particular risk are those who have their own tank, dam, or bore water supply, and those with poorly maintained swimming pools.

Natural water sources such as lakes and rivers can also become contaminated. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid swimming in bodies of warm, fresh water, ensuring spas and swimming pools are chlorinated and well maintained, and to regularly use hoses and sprinklers that sit in the sun.

Symptoms include headache, fever, and nausea, progressing into confusion, loss of balance, and seizures. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.


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