Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic killer that likely lives in a lake near us.

Here’s why we really can’t swim in White Rock Lake: a brain-eating amoeba—kind of like the ones that Khan, in his Wrath, lets loose in his victims’ ears in Star Trek II, except these enter through the nose.

Three people have died this summer — people from Florida, Louisiana and Virginia — from the deadly Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL-er-eye) amoeba.

Once, when I was speaking with White Rock Lake historian and Dallas Park Department staffer Sally Rodriguez about the possibility of White Rock someday being swimmable, she mentioned this particular potential-killer in the water. I couldn’t remember what she called it (Duh — how does one forget “Naegleria fowleri”?), until I read this story (shared by a fear-mongering friend on Facebook this morning).

The thing lives in warm lakes in the hot summer, particularly in the south. Actually, Rodriguez said that because of this threat, she didn’t recommend swimming in any lakes around here. (Scary, because I can remember inhaling ample amounts of Lake Ray Hubbard water via my nose while trying to water ski.) White Rock Lake is no different. Still, as I mentioned when I reported this story about kayaking, a little White Rock water on the skin won’t cause you to grow scales or anything.

The NF amoeba is rare, but the Center for Disease Control reports about 3-4 deaths per summer, mostly in southern U.S.