The Florida Department of Health has announced a confirmed case of Naegleria fowleri — a microscopic single-celled amoeba that can infect and destroy the brain. It’s usually fatal, the DOH said.
Dating back to 1962, only 37 reported cases of the amoeba in Florida are known. This one was found in Hillsborough County, though the DOH did not give any further details.
Since this is typically found in warm freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers and ponds, the DOH has cautioned people who swim in freshwater resources to be careful of its presence, especially when around warm water.
“Adverse health effects on humans can be prevented by avoiding nasal contact with the waters, since the amoeba enters through nasal passages.Use only boiled and cooled, distilled, or sterile water for making sinus rinse solutions for neti pots or performing ritual ablutions”Department of Health, Florida
In the US, there have been 143 known infected cases of the amoeba, according to the Florida DOH. Only four have survived.