Caution Urged When Swimming in Lakes, Ponds - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/31/02 - Lake Tyler

Caution Urged When Swimming in Lakes, Ponds

Everyone's out of school on this lazy carefree day. For kids the lake is all theirs, but a tiny amoeba may be living in a body of water near you.

If it gets into your body, it could be deadly.

"It has to get into the nose and up into the bottom part of the brain of the skull," says Channel 7 Med Team Dr. Ed Dominguez who says the amoeba can cause a brain infection that is most often fatal.  Two East Texas children died last year.

Beth Gibson is spending the day with several kids at Lake Tyler.  "He plays in the water, he'll fall and sometimes gets it up his nose or in his mouth."

The water here is clear and fresh. The amoeba could be around... though it's much more likely in stagnant ponds, or lakes after many weeks without rain. Still the water is warm, and the amoeba like it... so Beth says she'll be careful.

"What else can you do other than just watch them and make sure their head doesn't go under a whole lot," she says.  There have been deaths elsewhere in the US this year, but your odds, if in a lake, are quite slim.

"Maybe 1 in about 700,000 or 800,000, again, not an immense chance that this will occur," says Dr. Dominguez. 

Kids are most at risk because they're kids and they splash around, but Beth says they won't be afraid of the water. Though there's no way to guarantee safety.

"Unless you muzzle them or something, then you take the fun out of it."

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