Brain Eating Amoeba in Grand Teton

Moose – A deadly amoeba lives in warm and hot springs in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller Parkway nearby. Park Superintendent David Vela is asking Park visitors to avoid swimming or wading in the springs.
You can hear the call of bullfrogs in Kelly Warm Spring in Grand Teton National Park. Bullfrogs, and tropical fish live here, but they are not native. But they are not the deadly one celled organism that can kill people.
Although it is deadly, Naegleria fowleri may naturally occur here.
Chief of Science and Resource Management , Sue Consolo-Murphy said, “U.S.G.S. researchers have sampled these waters and have discovered some potentially dangerous organisms in the water, including one called Naegleria fowleri.”
Consolo-Murphy said there is more than one potential pathogen.
She explained, “And we also know we have high levels of E. Coli which can pose a danger to humans.”
E. Coli comes from fecal matter, and can cause intestinal sickness. Signs warn people not to get into the warm water. But, there are no regulations against swimming or wading in Kelly Warm Spring, so it’s up to the visitor to decide.
She pointed out, “There’s no one in here today swimming in the water, but it’s not uncommon to come out here and see people wading, swimming, splashing around.”
Consolo-Murphy said there aren’t any reported cases of sickness from this spring, and infection risk is low. But, a park press release says the amoeba can destroy brain tissue, cause swelling, and death.
Consolo-Murphy explained, “Naegleria fowleri, if it gets into the nasal passages can cause primary amoebic meningitis, which can be fatal.”
United States Geological Survey researchers have also found the amoeba in streams and pools near to Kelly Warm Spring and in Huckleberry Hot Springs and Polecat Springs in the John D. Rockefeller Parkway between Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. Wading or swimming is not allowed in those springs.
Consolo-Murphy said most of the world’s thermal features are in the greater Yellowstone area, including Grand Teton. So, Grand Teton officials have another reason to discourage people from going in the warm waters here: the possible destruction of rare and fragile geothermal features.
She said, “It’s our mission to protect the resources fundamentally to insure that they last for the enjoyment of present and future generations.”