Fatal Brain-Eating Amoeba Infection Reported in Florida

It has been confirmed by officials that a resident of Florida passed away due to a rare brain-eating amoeba infection.[0] BBC News states that, according to health experts in Charlotte County, the individual likely became infected after irrigating their sinuses with tap water.

Residents of Charlotte County, Florida, were alerted by the Department of Health to only use distilled or sterile water for sinus rinse solutions.[1] Before using tap water for sinus rinsing, such as with a neti pot, it should be boiled for at least one minute and then cooled.

A microscopic single-celled organism known as Naegleria fowleri exists in the form of[2] It is rare to become infected with Naegleria fowleri, and this can only occur when water containing the amoebae enters the body through the nose, which is why health officials stress the importance of this. Tap water cannot cause an infection.[3]

According to the county health department, it is likely that the person contracted the infection when they rinsed their nasal passages with tap water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections can happen when water containing the amoeba enters through the nose and travels up into the brain. Naegleria fowleri can enter the nose when swimming or diving in fresh water lakes, or when tap water is used to clean the sinuses.[0]

Signs of this condition may include: headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, confusion, a rigid neck, poor coordination, convulsions and/or hallucinations.[4]

Warm water locations may harbor Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba responsible for primary amebic meningoencephalitis.[5]

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately three Americans are infected annually with a disease that is usually fatal.[6]

Those who irrigate, flush, or rinse out their sinuses should utilize distilled water or tap water that has been boiled and cooled off.

In addition, DO NOT allow water to go up your nose or sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small hard plastic/blow-up pools, and keep these locations clean after every use.[7]

The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County said tap water in the area is still safe to drink as the amoeba is rare and can only infect humans through the nose.[8]

0. “Brain-eating amoeba: Person dies after washing sinuses with tap water” Insider, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.insider.com/deadly-brain-eating-amoeba-infection-florida-naegleria-fowleri-2023-2

1. “Florida Man Dies From Brain-Eating Amoeba After Tap Water Goes Up His Nose, Health Officials Issue Warning” Inside Edition, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.insideedition.com/florida-man-dies-from-brain-eating-amoeba-after-tap-water-goes-up-his-nose-health-officials-issue

2. “Is Charlotte County's tap water safe following report of amoeba infection” FOX 4 News Fort Myers WFTX, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.fox4now.com/charlotte-county/is-charlotte-countys-tap-water-safe-following-report-of-amoeba-infection

3. “DOH Charlotte County warns about waterborne amoeba infections” Wink News, 23 Feb. 2023, https://winknews.com/2023/02/23/doh-charlotte-county-warns-about-infections-from-waterborne-amoeba/

4. “Florida man dies from brain-eating amoeba – possibly after rinsing his nose with tap water” Sky News, 3 Mar. 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/florida-man-dies-from-brain-eating-amoeba-possibly-after-rinsing-his-nose-with-tap-water-12824141

5. “Rare brain-eating amoeba kills in Florida after victim possibly rinsed nose with tap water, officials say” Fox Weather , 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.foxweather.com/earth-space/florida-brain-eating-amoeba-rinsing-nose-tap-water

6. “Brain-eating amoeba: Where it lives, symptoms, and how to avoid being infected” FOX 35 Orlando, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/florida-man-dies-after-contracting-brain-eating-infection-through-tap-water-report

7. “Brain-eating amoeba kills Florida man” Toronto Sun, 2 Mar. 2023, https://torontosun.com/news/world/brain-eating-amoeba-kills-florida-man

8. “Florida man dies from brain-eating infection after rinsing his nose with TAP WATER” Daily Mail, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11808615/Florida-man-dies-brain-eating-infection-rinsing-nose-TAP-WATER.html

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