A US man from South Florida died from brain-eating-amoeba last month after he used tap water to rinse his nose, according to a report by Fox News. The man who was a resident of Charlotte County, died on February 20, three days before the health department issued a public alert about the infection. The "brain-eating amoeba," Naegleria fowleri, has been linked to the death of a patient.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the health agency of the United States, Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba (single-celled living organism) that lives in soil and warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs. DOH-Charlotte says that it is a rare infection and can happen when water contaminated with the amoeba enters through the nose, stressing that it cannot be contracted by drinking tap water.
It is commonly called the "brain-eating amoeba" because it can cause a brain infection when water containing the amoeba goes up the nose. Only about three people in the United States get infected each year, but these infections are usually fatal. It can cause an infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) - a condition that does not have any known effective treatments. As a result of the infection's destruction of brain tissue, the brain swells. Early PAM signs and symptoms could resemble those of bacterial meningitis.
CDC in a statement told Fox News, the infection kills over 97% of the people who contract it. Out of 154 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2021, only four confirmed patients have survived the infection.
Following the death, DOH-Charlotte is continuing the investigation. They said, "Continuing to investigate how this infection occurred and is working with the local public utilities to identify any potential links and make any necessary corrective actions."
The department further said that residents should be extra cognizant while bathing, showering, washing faces, swimming, jumping into the water and playing with hoses/sprinklers to avoid water going up the nose. It's also recommended to keep plastic and blow-up pools disinfected, and to avoid slip-n-slides.