Officials Discover Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba in Florida Bodies of Water

The Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of what is commonly referred to as a brain-eating amoeba in the Tampa area. According to the department, one person in Hillsborough County contracted Naegleria fowleri, which is a single-cell amoeba that attacks brain tissue and is usually fatal.

Since 1962, there have been only 37 cases of Naegleria fowleri in Florida, according to the Department of Health. Only four people of the 145 known infected individuals in the U.S. have survived, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Naegleria fowleri is contacted when contaminated water enters through a person’s nose, and is found in warm freshwater such as lakers, rivers and hot springs, according to the CDC. Its peak season in Florida is in July, August and September, the Department of Health said, and it grows best at temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also possible to contract Naegleria fowleri in swimming pools that are not properly chlorinated, or contaminated neti pots. A person can’t contract Naegleria fowleri from drinking contaminated water, since it’s only contracted through the nose.

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SOURCE: CBS News

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