Person dies after catching ‘brain-eating’ amoeba from tap water In Florida KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Thursday, March 2, 2023

Person dies after catching ‘brain-eating’ amoeba from tap water In Florida

Person dies after catching ‘brain-eating’ amoeba from tap water In Florida.

The person was infected with Naegleria fowleri after rinsing their nose with tap water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Fox 4. The patient died on Feb. 20.

“The adult patient reportedly performed nasal rinsing daily with unboiled tap water, which is thought to be the source of the infection,” the CDC said in a statement to the station.

The CDC additionally said this was the first case of the deadly infection this year and the first ever reported in the winter months in the US, according to the station.

The CDC did not detail where the person lived in the state, but state health officials said in a news release last Thursday there was a case of Naegleria fowleri that took place in Charlotte County, located in the southwest part of the Sunshine State.

Local officials would not confirm to Fox 4 if the person who died was the case they alerted the public to. “DOH-Charlotte, as part of a multi-agency response, is continuing to investigate how this infection occurred and is working with the local public utilities to identify any potential link and make any necessary corrective actions,” the Florida Department of Health said in the press release about the case.

Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled living organism that can live in fresh water and is commonly called the “brain-eating amoeba,” according to the CDC.

Water that contains amoeba can go up through the nose and cause a brain infection, according to the CDC. In late February, the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County reported on a case of a resident infected with N. fowleri, adding that the person had possibly contracted the infection through nasal rinsing with tap water. Local media outlet Fox 4 subsequently reached out to the health department as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both of which provided more details. The resident was a man who died of his infection on February 20. And he reportedly rinsed his sinuses with unboiled tap water every day.

N. fowleri is a shapeshifting amoeba that commonly lives in soil and warm freshwater environments. It normally feeds on bacteria, and when it’s accidentally ingested through water, it can’t cause any trouble. But when it enters the body through the nose, it can migrate up to the brain. Once inside, the amoeba quite literally eats brain cells and also triggers massive inflammation, resulting in a condition called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM. Initial symptoms include severe headaches, fever, and nausea, which then quickly progress to neurological problems like seizures, hallucinations, and coma.

There have only been around 150 reported cases of PAM in the U.S. since the discovery of the amoeba in the 1960s, with between zero to five cases reported annually. But the infection has a fatality rate of over 97% once symptoms start, with death typically arriving within two weeks after exposure. This latest case is the first reported case of N. fowleri to occur this year and the first case linked to tap water documented in Florida, according to the CDC. It’s also the first case in the U.S. reported during the winter, which is usually when the amoeba transforms out of the stage of life that can infect humans and becomes dormant.

Most cases of N. fowleri are thought to happen when people get water up their nose while swimming in natural warm freshwater environments like lakes. But the amoeba can survive in drinking water systems or poorly chlorinated pools. And in a few cases, like this one, it has entered a person’s brain through intentional nasal rinsing with contaminated water. Nasal rinsing is practiced as a spiritual ritual in some areas, but in the U.S. it’s probably more commonly performed to clear the sinuses and provide some relief from sinus infections, allergies, or the cold and flu.

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