CLARIFICATION: Livingstone Shire Council supplied town water is completely safe for consumption.
The amoeba was found in the water a family who live on a property in the Livingstone area was drinking - which was from the dam. Apologies for the confusion.
INITIAL: IT CAN'T be seen with the naked eye and it can't be avoided, but it's rife in Central Queensland and could strike at any time.
It's Balamuthia mandrillaris; the brain-eating parasite that has already claimed one Central Queensland victim.
In February, Gladstone woman Eva Cary tragically died after she contracted the deadly parasitic amoeba which ate away at her brain and Ecoscope Environmental Pty Ltd Principal Scientist Howard Howell is concerned she won't be the last to fall victim.
Mr Howell said CQ provided the perfect conditions for the nasty amoeba to survive and multiply and urged residents and doctors to be aware of the symptoms.
"It's extremely rare but unfortunately with life, we don't know about a lot of these things," Mr Howell said.
"Unfortunately in reading all the medical articles on it, they don't find this stuff until the autopsy. The poor person has already died.
"It is preventable if doctors know about the symptoms and the signs.
"Some of the early symptoms are cutaneous lesions on the body whereby they're very dry and scaly.
"Those cutaneous lesions hold the amoebas and if they do skin scrapings and find the amoeba they can treat it before it migrates its way to the brain.
"The lesions for this particular amoeba occur over years, so you have years to do something about it in most cases.
"The ones that they are finding early one, there are drugs that can help it."
Mr Howell said the amoeba only has to come in contact with a cut or sore for the disease to take hold.
"It's not roaming around looking for you to eat you, it lives normally. It's an opportunistic pathogen," he said.
"If it comes into contact and it goes 'oh, okay, I'll just live here for a while' it will multiply and so-on.
"It's not there seeking you out or anything. If it lands on you it can potentially survive and eat."
Alarmingly, Mr Howell said he recently found amoeba in the water a family who live on a farm in the Livingstone area, was drinking.
"One case we had recently was a husband had put raw water from the dam into the families drinking water tank and they had been drinking it and it was full of amoeba," he said.
"Fortunately the wife was concerned and we tested it, found it and they no longer drink that water. That was at the end of last year.
"The amount of amoeba in the sample was horrendous. It's up to their doctors now, they're well aware that they were drinking it. Potentially an entire family could have died and they may actually still get the symptoms."
Mr Howell said the most important thing to do was to be vigilant.
"CQ is right up on the scale of exotic diseases - we are a perfect breeding ground," he said.
"We find lots of amoeba in lots of samples that we do across the board here.
"It could be anywhere but we can't change our life or our lifestyle to try and avoid this. You can't avoid it, it's impossible.
"We can do protozoa testing if people really want it done to see if we can find any sort of amoeba in their samples. It can give people peace of mind.
"It's survival of the fittest."
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