Water School

What is primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)?

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, is a rare, almost always fatal disease caused by an ameba (naegleria fowleri) found in all untreated, fresh surface water and in soil. Most common during the summer, the ameba thrives in low levels of freshwater that is stagnant or slow-moving and is warmer than 80 degrees.

The infection occurs when water containing the organism is forced into the nasal passages – usually from diving or jumping into water or water skiing. The ameba makes its way into the brain and spinal cord, destroying brain tissue. Although PAM is rare – affecting about one to three people a year in Texas – those infected usually succumb to the disease within a week.




The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us or call 888-922-6272.

agricultural water clarity bottled water soil acre-feet allens creek reservoir canoeing flood control lake tdh acre-foot speaker watercourse filter invasive plants usgs oxygen maps planning water use water treatment direct re-use recreation insurance supply releases water planning tributary clarity pharmaceuticals marsh authority gage boating rain permit reservoir ground water riverine use subsidence lake level habitat hunting canoe drought governance municipal riparian medicine infection wetland parasite gas gate solids appropriation monitor industrial quality calcium corps climate water supply precipitation estuary costs hydrology stream limestone sewage water bay impound lake volume dissolved solids fish kill farming flood pool drinking water system corps of engineers xeriscape salt mission rights bed and banks anaerobic lakes mainstem jobs treatment well chlorine turbidity potable channel consumption TCEQ dam sediment agriculture spring classification E. coli water code E coli fertilizer kayak effluent possum kingdom evaporation water rights mitigation gulf hydropower hydrologic cycle streamflow salinity pollutants hydrilla fishing drilling inland inundated environmental main stem subsidence district algae lake levels map storage reservoirs landscaping water plants fork basin biosolids golden algea electric companies aquifer septic system sanitation contract measure watershed Board smell groundwater contaminants beneficial use organic wildlife wastewater emergency use depth flood aerobic spillway industry indirect re-use sludge mgd septic streamflow granbury brackish surface water taste water quality dock minerals employment golden algae environment subwatershed lawn runoff chlorides legislation electricity conservation river wetlands PAM cfs camping water cycle