Today’s Headlines: Allergies, Amoebas and Antibiotics

Ten worst cities for people with fall allergies: Does your city have the sniffles? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has released a list of the nation’s worst cities for fall allergy sufferers, and Wichita, Kansas, tops the list. Jackson (Mississippi), Knoxville (Tennessee) and Louisville (Kentucky) scored the second, third and fourth spots, respectively. Apparently, “the primary allergy trigger this fall will be ragweed pollen,” followed by outdoor mold. Ragweed likes urban areas and can grow in sidewalk cracks, alongside roads and on roofs. (USA Today)

Deadly brain amoeba infects U.S. tap water for the first time: A dangerous amoeba has been detected in a U.S. drinking water supply for the first time, the CDC reported. The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, was detected in a New Orleans–area water system, likely due to “incomplete disinfection.” N. fowleri, which is only deadly if given access to the brain via the nose, “has only been reported in about 130 people in the U.S. since 1962, making it extremely rare.” However, this year it has killed two boys, and a young girl became only the third person known to survive it. Officials are decontaminating the affected water supply, and other area water supplies are considered to be safe. (NBC News)

New test aims to better detect viral infections, cut overuse of antibiotics: Scientists are developing a new test to show if a respiratory illness is viral or bacterial, which would hopefully allow physicians to make smarter decisions about when to prescribe antibiotics. The test works “by taking a fingerprint of your immune system — how its genes are revving up to fight the bug,” which varies depending on whether the threat is coming from a virus or bacteria. So far, the test “proved 89% accurate in sorting out who had a virus, and did even better at ruling out those who didn’t.” (Fox News)