Urgent warning after potentially deadly discovery at popular swimming spot

Swimmers have been told to stay out of the water over fears a 'horrible' brain-eating amoeba has been discovered.

Swimmers have been told to stay away from a popular weir after a brain-eating amoeba with a 99-per cent fatality rate was potentially discovered in the water.

With highs of 28C over the weekend, some may have been planning a refreshing dip at Drakesbrook Weir, more than 100km south of Perth. However council issued a warning on Friday afternoon telling people to stay out of the water.

"Testing this week has again indicated the presence of Naegleria amoeba in the water," Shire of Waroona Council said. "The Shire is now awaiting results to rule out the presence of Naegleria Fowleri, the organism responsible for amoebic meningoencephalitis, commonly referred to as amoebic meningitis."

The amoeba can enter a person's brain when water is thrust up their nose. Council advised anyone who had put their head under water at the lake and feels unwell to seek immediate medical attention.

Two women stand at Drakesbrook Weir's edge, while a man and woman paddle out on kayaks with a dog in the shallows.
Visitors to Drakesbrook Weir have been told to stay out of the water. Source: Instagram - outandaboutperth/ freocookster

Similar warnings were issued in January and February, with Health Department managing scientist Richard Theobald warning of its deadly nature.

“If there is nice warm water in a pool with no chlorine but a little bit of dirt, you start to run the risk of amoeba, so that water should be emptied and then refilled regularly,” he said.

“Infection is very rare (but) the death rate is 99 per cent. When infected, the amoeba travels to the brain and does what amoeba love to do: multiply and consume."

There has been three known cases in Western Australia since the 1980s.

Amoebic meningitis kills you in less than three weeks

Water researcher Professor Ian Wright previously told Yahoo News Australia amoebic meningitis is a "horrible, horrible thing". "You could probably have a thousand people swim in that waterway and not get it. But if you get infected, it's likely fatal. It takes between one and 18 days to die," he said.

On the other side of the country, one Sydney council issued a different type of deadly warning after a blue-ringed octopus was located at popular swimming baths in Woolwich. Professor of Marine Ecology at UTS David Booth told Yahoo he was pleasantly surprised to see the octopus so far up the harbour, with most sightings normally occurring at ocean beaches.

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