By Cara Murez
health day reporter
FRIDAY, March 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A brain-eating amoeba killed a Florida man, state health officials reported.
The man may have contracted the very rare infection after rinsing his sinuses with tap water, the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County said in a news release.
As health officials continue to investigate the cause of the Naegleria fowleri infection, they pointed out that it cannot be contracted by drinking tap water.
These infections only occur when contaminated water enters through the sinuses, officials said.
This usually happens while swimming in hot lakes or rivers in the summer. N. fowleri grows in warm temperatures, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is found in soil and fresh water.
Health officials have not publicly identified the deceased man.
Cases have been reported in the United States in each of the past four years, including three cases last year that occurred in Arizona, Iowa and Nebraska.
The Iowa case happened last June and involved a Missouri resident who swam in Lake of the Three Fires in Taylor County. The Nebraska case was a child who died within 10 days of being hospitalized after swimming in the Elkhorn River in August, BNC News reported.
The disease usually progresses rapidly after patients experience symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, disorientation, loss of balance, stiff neck, and seizures. Patients usually die within 18 days, BNC News reported.
Florida health officials have recommended that people performing a sinus flush, such as with a neti pot, use distilled or sterile water.
“Tap water should be boiled for at least 1 minute and cooled before sinus flushing,” the statement added.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on Naegleria fowleri.
SOURCE: BNC News