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The amoeba -- Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL-er-eye) -- gets up the nose, burrows up into the skull and destroys brain tissue. It's found in warm lakes and rivers during the hot summer months, mostly in the South.
It's a medical mystery why some people who swim in amoeba-containing water get the fatal nervous system condition while many others don't, experts say.
But the cases that do occur tend to be tragic, and there's only been one report of successful treatment.
"It's very difficult to treat. Most people die from it," Ratard said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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