Amoeba Awareness

Team Koral Reef aims to spread awareness about the risks associated with brain-eating amoebas in fresh water and to educate families and the medical community on the early identification of an amoeba. We also fund grant research and provide support to families affected by brain-eating amoebas. Here you can read our story, make a donation, and contact us.

What does TKR do?

  • Bring awareness to the danger of brain-eating amoebas, specifically…
    • Balamuthia Mandrillaris (bal – a – MUTH – ia Man – drill – AR – iss)
    • Naegleria Fowleri (nay · glee · ree · uh fau · ler · ee )
    • free-living amoebas found in soil and water are known to cause the deadly neurological condition known as Granulomatous Amoebic Encephalitis (GAE).
    • 98% Lethal, 100% Preventable
  • We raise funds to help bring awareness and to provide funds for research grants
  • We are also looking to build a network of Support Professionals to assist families who have been affected

What do brain-eating amoebas do?

  • Free-living amoebas found in soil and water are known to cause the deadly neurological condition known as granulomatous amoebic encephalitis
    • Symptoms are very similar to Meningitis: high temperature, cold hands and feet, vomiting, confusion, breathing quickly, muscle and joint pain, pale, mottled or blotchy skin, spots or a rash, headache, a stiff neck, a dislike of bright lights, being very sleepy or difficult to wake, fits (seizures)
  • Present in freshwater lakes, ponds, hot springs, spas, tap water, well water, and under-chlorinated/salinated pools/water slides

How did TKR start?

  • Our founder, Sybil, lost her daughter, Koral, to an amoeba after swimming ONE time in Lake Havasu – a painful 16-month process where she passed away about a month after finally being diagnosed
  • Our CFO, Del, also lost his daughter, Kelsey, after a similar swimming trip at Fishman’s Landing. She passed away only 7 days later

What does TKR stand for?

  • TKR stands for Team Koral Reef, which was the team of friends and family who supported Koral during her 16-month battle

Why is the K in TKR backward in the logo?

  • Because life seems a bit backward when you lose a child or a loved one to a brain-eating amoeba

Is there any cure/treatment for brain-eating amoebas?

  • Yes. There are anti-fungal medications that can be used to cure and kill the amoeba as long as it is caught soon enough (early identification). The biggest issue is that most doctors don’t know what to look for or know much about it.
  • There have only been about 300 documented cases worldwide, but many more have occurred that are not documented.

How do you prevent a brain-eating amoeba?

  • Do not swim/submerge in freshwater without a nose plug
    • Previously thought temperature would affect the life of the amoeba, this has been disproven
  • Swim/Play in the ocean or “properly” chlorinated and salinated water only
  • Amoebas have been found and caused fatalities in water parks and splash pads in Mexico, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Minnesota, and Florida, among others, as well as freshwater bodies everywhere
  • Drinking fresh water is OK, as the stomach acid kills the amoeba; nasal ingestion is not OK as it provides direct access to the brain
  • Do not Neti pot with tap water; distilled water only
Team Koral Reef - Amoeba Awareness Logo