US health officials say a patient in southwest Florida died after being infected with a very rare brain-eating amoeba.
The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County confirmed the death on Thursday (2/3). The agency previously issued a warning about infection with the brain-eating ameba, or Naegleria fowleri, last month.
“I can confirm that the infection unfortunately resulted in death, and any additional information about this case is being withheld to protect patient privacy,” Florida Department of Health spokesman Jae Williams said by email.
Some health officials previously suspected the infection was triggered by using tap water to clean the nose. Fluids to clear the nasal passages should use distilled or sterile water. Tap water should be used. Even if using tap water, it should be boiled for at least one minute and cooled before use.
“Naegleria fowleri infection is rare and can only occur when amoeba-contaminated water enters the body through the nose,” said Williams. “You can’t get infected by drinking tap water.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/CDC) The US says Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled organism that lives in soil and warm fresh water, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. The amoeba can cause brain infection when water contaminated with the organism goes up the nose. Only about three Americans are infected each year, but these infections are usually fatal. [ah/ft]
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