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Rare case of brain-destroying amoeba confirmed in Florida

The Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of brain-eating amoeba in the Tampa area. Officials said one person contracted Naegleria fowleri, which is a single-cell amoeba that attacks brain tissue and is usually fatal.
(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 4:37 PM EDT
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(WVLT/CBS) - The Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of brain-eating amoeba in the Tampa area. Officials said one person contracted Naegleria fowleri, which is a single-cell amoeba that attacks brain tissue and is usually fatal.

CBS reported that there have only been 37 cases of Naegleria fowleri in Florida since 1962. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 4 of the 145 people in the U.S. who have been known to contract it have survived.

The brain-eating amoeba is contracted when contaminated water enters the body through a person’s nose. It’s found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. Its peak season in Florida is July, August and September, according to the department of health, and it grows best at temperatures of 115 degrees.

CBS reported that it’s possible to contract Naegleria fowleri in swimming pools that are not properly chlorinated or contaminated neti pots. However, it can’t be contracted from drinking contaminated water.

Symptoms of Naegleria fowleri include severe frontal headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms can also include stiff neck, seizures, altered mental states, hallucinations and coma. Officials said signs of infection typically start a few days after swimming or other nasal exposure to contaminated water.

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