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'Brain-Eating' Bacteria Closes Popular Perth Swimming Spot

A Perth swimming spot has been closed after a potentially deadly ‘brain-eating’ bacteria was detected in the water.

Tests from water at Serpentine Falls, a popular waterfall in Perth’s south, found Naegleria Fowleri, often referred to as a ‘brain-eating amoeba’.

Tests from water at Serpentine Falls, a popular waterfall in Perth’s south, found Naegleria Fowleri. Image: @bartlettashleigh Instagram

The bacteria can cause a rare, but deadly disease called amoebic meningitis. WA’s Parks and Wildlife Service announced the closure on Tuesday afternoon, declaring the water unsafe.

“Routine testing undertaken on 8th January 2020 at Serpentine Falls has detected amoeba that may be Naegleria Fowleri,” the WA Department of Health said in a statement.

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“Final laboratory analysis will be completed tomorrow. However, as Naegleria Fowleri can cause the rare but potentially deadly infection amoebic meningitis Serpentine Falls has been closed for swimming.”

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The Naegleria Fowleri amoeba lives in freshwater and damp soil.

When water containing active amoebae enters the nose, the bacteria can travel to the brain causing inflammation and destruction of brain tissue.

“As amoebae thrive in water temperatures between 28˚C and 40˚C, it should be assumed that any warm freshwater potentially contains the Naegleria Fowleri amoeba.”

Serpentine Falls is closed indefinitely.