Is it possible to get infected with the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, through your ears, or is the nose the only way it can enter to cause infection? How commonly is it found in your stool as well?

  • $\begingroup$ what if a kid has tubes? or a hole in the eardrum? $\endgroup$
    – user4304
    Aug 23, 2013 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleCares - Naegleria fowleri eat myelin and neurons. The closest nerve bundle in the ears is in the Inner Ear (Vestibular Nerve) behind the Oval Window, Semicircular Ducts, and wedged between the Ducts and the Cochlea. Even if the Eardrum is compromised, it would still be almost impossible. $\endgroup$
    – MCM
    Aug 31, 2013 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Ears? No. The tympanic membrane (eardrum) is a watertight barrier between the outer ear and middle ear.

Exposure to the organism is extremely common due to its wide distribution in nature, but thus far lacks the ability to infect the body through any method other than direct contact with the olfactory nerve, which is exposed only at the extreme vertical terminus of the paranasal sinuses; the contaminated water must be deeply insufflated into the sinus cavities for transmission to occur.

Anatomic chart

In short: Don't huff warm lake water too deeply through your nose, and you'll probably never get it.

You shouldn't find it in your stool. Other amoebic infections can be found in your stool, as they can attack the lining of your intestines, but Naegleria, specifically, will reside in your sinuses and brain until you die or receive treatment.


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