Case of “brain-eating amoeba” reported in Florida, possibly linked to sinus rinse with tap water

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The Florida Department of Health has reported infections with Naegleria fowleri, known as “brain eating amoeba“In Charlotte County.

In a statement last week, the department did not identify the infected person or share any information about their condition, but said the person was infected “likely as a result of sinus rinse practices using tap water.”

Contraction of Naegleria fowleri causes a brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease is almost always fatal, with a mortality rate of over 97%.

Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled living amoeba, is rare and can only be contracted when water contaminated with the amoeba enters the body through the nose. Drinking the tap water poses no danger, the department stressed, and officials are investigating how the infection occurred “to identify any possible links and take necessary corrective action.”

The department stresses that people should only use distilled or sterile water when using sinus rinse solutions. If using tap water, it should be boiled for at least one minute and cooled before use. People should also exercise caution when swimming in fresh water. The CDC states that Naegleria fowleri is most often found in water above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The department warned that people who experience symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, disorientation, stiff neck, loss of balance, seizures and/or hallucinations after swimming in warm lakes or rivers or using a sinus rinse They should seek medical help immediately. , These symptoms usually begin a few days after exposure. death is within symptoms from day 1 to 18,

Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, the CDC says: Between 1962 and 2022, 157 cases were reported in the United States. In two of those cases, people became infected after washing their sinuses with contaminated tap water.

The CDC said that between 1962 and 2022, 37 cases of Naegleria fowleri were diagnosed in Florida. a boy who went to Florida contracted the amoeba and died of PAM in 2020,

In 2022, a Florida teenager was infected and fighting for life for months; According to a mid-February update on his GoFundMe page by his family, he is still alive. If the teen survives, he would be only the fifth known person in the United States to recover from a Naegleria fowleri infection.

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