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Oklahoma health officials say person dies from deadly amoeba

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma State Department of Health say a Carter County resident has died after coming in contact with a deadly amoeba while swimming in Lake Murray.

Officials said Wednesday that the person died due to Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (men-ingo-in-SEPHALITE-us). Also known as PAM, it is an extremely rare and usually deadly disease caused by infection with a single-celled organism known as Naegleria fowleri.

The disease-causing organisms are naturally present in most lakes, ponds and rivers but multiply rapidly in very warm and stagnant water. Persons may be exposed to the Naegleria fowleri amoeba when they dive or submerge their head in contaminated water. The amoeba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue.

Since 1998, seven cases involving PAM have been recorded in Oklahoma.

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