Fatal Brain infecting Amoeba found in Florida
A rapidly spreading brain infection caused by an amoeba was found in the warm fresh water lakes, rivers, ponds, and canals of Florida. The florid department of health has reported one case infected with the amoeba Naegleria Fowleri in Hillsborough County. Naegleria Fowleri is a microscopic single celled living amoeba, which causes a rare life threatening infection of brain tissue.
The amoeba's deadly effects happen when it causes a rare infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal, according to Fox News.
Infections happen when a infected person comes in contact with the contaminated water. When infected, the amoeba enters the body through the nose from where it travels to the brain and causes PAM. Increase in temperatures for prolonged periods of time, increases water temperatures which lowers water levels and causes these infections. July, august and September are considered to be the peak months for the growth of this amoeba. They are mostly found in the freshwater of the southern states of the USA. The fact that the amoeba affects only fewer population when compared to others is not known.
Since 1962, there were only 37 reported cases of infection with this amoeba in Florida. The DOH cautions people who swim and dive in the Florida's fresh water lakes, ponds, and rivers of the possible presence of the amoeba in Florida. The symptoms of infection after swimming in freshwater or warm body water are headache, fever, disorientation, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, loss of balance, hallucinations. Health care officials have advised to seek medical care as soon as these symptoms appear. As the disease progresses very rapidly after the first infection.
Health care officials have also given few guidelines to follow to avoid the infection. They are:
• Avoid water related activities in bodies of fresh water, hot springs, and thermally polluted water such as around power plants.
• Avoid water activities in periods of high temperatures and low water levels.
• Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water related activities.
• Avoid digging in or stirring the sediment while taking part in water related activities.
• Exposure to amoeba can also occur when using neti pots to rinse the sinuses or conducting religious rituals with tap water. Use only boiled, cooled, distilled or sterile water for sinuses or religious rituals.