Brain-eating amoeba found in Charlotte County tap water

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County has confirmed a Florida case recently infected with Naegleria fowleri, possibly as a result of sinus flushing practices using tap water.

Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic unicellular living amoeba. It’s rare and can only happen when water contaminated with amoebas enters the body through the nose, according to health officials.

Please note that you cannot become infected by drinking tap water.

Officials believe the patient potentially came into contact with the amoeba using a Neti Pot filled with tap water. Right on the box there is a warning listed four times to avoid this practice.

“Because that’s the route by which Naegleria makes its way through the cerebrospinal fluid into the brain, what ends up happening is that the infection overwhelms the body, and…unfortunately, c is very dangerous and deadly,” said administrator Dr. Joe Pepe. at the Charlotte County Health Department.

Health officials said the amoeba can cause a brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) in rare situations.

Pepe cannot share the affected patient’s status in Charlotte County. However, statistics tell us that infection results in a 97% mortality rate.

An investigation is ongoing into how this infection occurred, and the Department of Health is working with local utilities to identify any potential links and take the necessary corrective action.

Charlotte County residents are asked to follow these instructions:

  • When preparing sinus rinse solutions, use only distilled or sterile water. Tap water should be boiled for at least 1 minute and cooled before sinus flushing.
  • DO NOT let water get up your nose or sniff water up your nose when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small hard plastic/inflatable pools.
  • DO NOT jump or put your head under bathing water (bathtubs, small hard plastic/inflatable pools) – step or stoop in it.
  • DO NOT let children play with hoses or sprinklers unsupervised as they may accidentally spray water through their noses. Avoid slides and other activities where it is difficult to keep water from coming up through your nose.
  • Keep small hard plastic or inflatable pools clean by emptying them, scrubbing them and letting them dry after each use.
  • Keep your pool properly sanitized before and during use.

The DOH-Charlotte said that if you experience any of the following symptoms after swimming in warm lakes or rivers, or after nasal exposure to water such as sinus flushing, you are urged to seek medical attention. doctor :

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Torticollis
  • Seizures
  • Loss of equilibrium
  • Hallucinations

Although infection is extremely rare, you can avoid potential contamination by using distilled or boiled water when using a Neti Pot and by wearing a nose plug when going underwater in areas recreational swimming. The Charlotte County Health Department is offering nose plugs to families to aid in prevention.

“When we see cases, they’re often associated with lakes or rivers, ponds,” said CDC medical epidemiologist Dr. Julia Haston. “We believe the most likely mode of transmission in these cases is actually forcefully entering the nose when they jump, swim, dive.”

“From 2012 to 2021, a total of 31 infections have been reported in the United States,” according to the CDC. “Of these cases, 28 people became infected through recreational water exposure, two people became infected after rinsing their sinuses with contaminated tap water, and one person became infected through drinking water. Contaminated faucet used on a backyard slide.”

“The common misperception is that I can drink water, can I bathe with water, can I cook with water?” says Pepe. “The answer is yes.”

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