Travel Advice

A Norwegian woman from Oslo died after returning from Thailand where she had been infected with the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. Brain-Eating Amoeba.

The source of infection appears to be daily nasal washing with tap water.

If you are unsure about the water quality, always use sterile or boiled water for nasal washing, particularly in subtropical and tropical areas.


Naegleria fowleri is a free-living amoeba that can attack the brain via the nasal mucosa and the olfactory nerve. It is also known as the “the brain-eating amoeba.” The amoeba lives in freshwater and can reach the brain when contaminated water enters the nose.

The amoeba is usually transmitted when water enters the nose while swimming in lakes, rivers and unchlorinated swimming pools, but nasal washing with contaminated water is also a known risk factor.

Nasal washing is popular in yoga environments and is part of religious washing practices in many countries.

Symptoms appear within 1-7 days. People die 1-12 days after symptoms begin.

The disease is not transmitted by drinking contaminated water or spread by human to human contact. Boiling or chlorination of water kills the amoeba.

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