Florida confirms case of brain-eating amoeba

Posted at 7:12 AM, Aug 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 09:00:48-04

The Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of brain-eating amoeba. The potentially deadly infection was contracted by a swimmer who bathed in unsanitary water at a private residence in Broward County, ABC News 10 reports.

The amoeba, whose scientific name is Naegleria fowlerii, can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The confirmation of the case in Florida comes just days after 11-year-old Hannah Collins succumbed to the amoeba after swimming in a river in South Carolina.

Authorities did not give the name, age or gender of the Florida individual, but said that they were currently receiving treatment in a hospital.

The organism is commonly found in warm freshwater, according to the CDC, usually enters the body through the nasal passage and can cause a rare but extremely deadly infection of the brain.

Of 133 people known to have been infected with the brain-eating amoeba in the United States from 1962 to 2014, only three people have survived, according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, Naegleria fowlerii is defined as: a free-living microscopic ameba*, (single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare** and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The ameba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the ameba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose 1-4. You cannot get infected from swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria.