Warm weather prompts disease warning

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In warmer weather when using fresh or natural water don’t allow water to go up your nose or a child's nose and do not sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering or washing your face. Picture: Anita McInnes

AS the weather warms up Yanchep and Gingin residents are encouraged to take simple precautions to avoid the potentially fatal disease amoebic meningitis from waterborne Naegleria fowleri.

The Department of Health said Naegleria fowleri is naturally occurring so it can be found in any fresh water body or poorly treated water.

It thrives in warm water temperatures, between 28 degrees and 40 degrees Celsius.

Amoebic meningitis only occurs if water containing active amoeba goes up the nose and then to the brain.

The risk of amoebic meningitis can be reduced by following these simple precautions:

  • Don’t allow water to go up your nose or a child’s nose and do not sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering or washing your face.
  • Don’t allow children to play unsupervised with hoses or sprinklers because they may accidentally squirt water up their nose.
  • Don’t jump or dive into water – walk or lower yourself in.
  • Don’t dig or stir up sediment in waterholes, dams, lakes and rivers.
  • Don’t use tap water for nasal irrigation unless it has been further treated.
  • Swim in and play with safe, chlorinated water only and stay out of dirty pools, waterholes, dams, lakes, rivers.
  • Correctly disinfect your swimming pool and spa water – chlorine is the most effective way to continually disinfect water because it kills all stages of the amoeba.
  • Keep wading pools clean by emptying, scrubbing and allowing them to dry in the sun after each use.
  • Swim in sea water or chlorinated pools rather than fresh water.
  • Tips for healthy swimming and swimming pool and spa information is available on the Healthy WA website.

Information about amoebic meningitis is available through local government environmental health officers, WA Health’s Environmental Health Directorate on 9388 4999, and on the Healthy WA website http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Healthy-WA/Articles/A_E/Amoebic-meningitis