Amoeba Risk Permanently Closes Palm Bay Lake

PALM BAY, Florida –The City of Palm Bay announced that the lake at Veteran’s Memorial Park located at 2200 Port Malabar Boulevard NE is permanently closed to swimming due to continued risk of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis to park patrons. 
The lake had been temporarily closed since last August.  However, the decision was made for permanent closure due to the ongoing risk the warm water pond presents to swimmers.  
Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis is caused by the Nagleria amoeba entering the body through the nose and ultimately destroying brain tissue.  The amoeba thrives in untreated warm water ponds and lakes such as the one located at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  “Simply stated, it is not worth the risk to swim in a warm water pond such as Vet’s Park pond,” said City Manager Sue Hann.  
In the coming days, city staff will remove all lifeguard towers and swimming ropes in the pond.  Additional signage will be posted stating no swimming is allowed.
 
The amoeba thrives in the upper layer of sediment in the bottom of lakes and ponds with mud floors.  The Brevard County Health Department advises symptoms of infection include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and bodily control, seizures and hallucinations.  The public is urged to contact a medical professional immediately if experiencing any of these symptoms.


The Brevard County Health Department also reports the threat of infection, although rare, increases during the summer months when the water temperature rises.  The amoeba invades the brain and the disease progresses rapidly and usually results in death within 3 to 7 days. Prevention is key and the public is advised to avoid warm water ponds, lakes, rivers and non chlorinated swimming pools.  For more information visit the Brevard County Health Department’s website www.doh.state.fl.us/chdbrevard or contact the Brevard County Health Department at 321-454-7101 or the Palm Bay Parks and Recreation Department at 321-953-8912.