One Florida resident was infected with a rare and dangerous brain-eating amoeba.
This amoeba is incredibly rare, with only 34 infections confirmed in America between 2009 and 2018.
The Florida Department of Health warned residents to avoid nasal contact with tap water, and to avoid swimming in warm freshwater.
The Florida Department of Health is warning residents of Hillsborough County to avoid nasal contact with tap water after confirming that someone in the region has been infected by a rare, brain-eating amoeba.
The department did not specify where the person was infected in the western, coastal county, which contains the city of Tampa, but issued a warning on July 3 that discouraged people from swimming and diving in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds.
Naegleria fowleri, a heat-loving single-celled organism amoeba, is usually found in warm freshwater and typically infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, according to the CDC.
Once the microscopic amoeba enters the body, it travels up towards the brain, where it destroys brain tissue and typically leads to death within a week.
Health officials recommended that people use nose clips while swimming in warm freshwater and avoid water-related activities in these areas during the warmer summer months.
Naegleria fowleri infections are rare in the US
In the 10 years between 2009 and 2018, only 34 infections were reported in America. Of these cases, 30 were infected in water, 3 were infected after using contaminated tap water to irrigate their noses, and one person was infected by contaminated water while on a backyard slip-n-slide, the CDC reported.
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Naegleria fowleri only affects people when entering the body through the nose. People cannot get infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water, and it doesn't spread via water vapor or aerosol droplets. An infected person cannot transmit the infection to anyone else.
Symptoms of possible disease include headache, fever, nausea, disorientation, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, loss of balance, or hallucinations. There have only been 37 cases of Naegleria fowleri in Florida since the 60s, the BBC reported.
The amoeba thrives at temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit, is typically found in hotter Southern states, and survives by eating bacteria found in lake and river sediment.
The fatality rate for this infection is 97%. Only four out of 145 known infected individuals have survived.
There are no tests for detecting Naegleria fowleri in water, so "recreational water users should assume thatÂ Naegleria fowleri is present in warm freshwater across the United States," says the CDC.
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