Brain-Eating Amoebas Are Less Dangerous Than Champagne

Calm down. Brain-eating amoebas are still less dangerous than coconuts and champagne corks

This is an actual brain-eating amoeba. I KNOW, right? — Science VU/Drs. D.T. John & T.B.
Jul 24, 2015 at 5:58 PM ET

Brain-eating amoebas are back! And right on time! Every year since 1960, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logs between four and five fatalities, usually during the summer when people routinely dunk their heads into warm, untreated freshwater. Brain-eating amoebas then slither up their noses and chow down on their brains—rarely leaving behind any survivors.

Brain-eating amoebas are unpleasant.

Fortunately, they’re not very common. As a matter of fact, contracting a brain-eating amoeba is so rare that shark attacks, lightning strikes and even coconuts kill more people every year than the dreaded brain-eating amoeba. That doesn’t make them any less terrifying because they still eat your brain, but it should answer the totally unnecessary question of whether Slip-n-Slide is too dangerous for kids.

Want to know what’s more likely to kill you than unfiltered water in a neti pots, or snorting a hot-spring? Coconuts. Those things are murderous. Researchers estimate that falling coconuts kill up to 150 people per year. Or how about champagne corks? At least 25 people every year end life to the sound of popping champagne—which must really put a damper on the festivities. For your vacation viewing pleasure, here’s a kill count (based on deaths per year) for the summer activities least likely to end your life:

Amoebas Just Want To Be Your Friend