A rare case of a brain-destroying amoeba has been confirmed in Florida

Florida Department of Health on Friday announced a confirmed case of Naegleria fowleri – a microscopic single-celled amoeba that can infect and destroy the brain. It’s usually fatal, DOH said.

Since 1962, only 37 cases of amoeba have been reported in Florida. This was found in Hillsborough County, although DOH did not provide any further details.

Naegleria fowleri is usually found in warm fresh waters such as lakes, rivers and ponds. The DOH has warned people swimming in these freshwater springs to be aware of the possible presence of an amoeba, especially when the water is warm.

“Adverse health effects on humans can be prevented by avoiding nasal contact with water because the amoeba enters through the nasal passages,” the DOH said.

The DOH advised people to avoid hot fresh water bodies around power plants and shallow fresh water during periods of high water temperature. You should pinch your nose when playing in warm fresh water.

DOH also noted that you could be exposed to amoebae through a neti pot when rinsing congested sinuses.

“Use only boiled and cooled, distilled or sterile water to make sinus rinsing solutions in neti pots or to perform ritual washes,” it states.

There have been 143 known cases of amoeba infection in the United States, it said at Florida DOH, Only four survived.

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