The Zika virus and Naegleria Fowleri infections seem to be the main health concerns this summer. Naegleria Fowleri or the brain eating amoeba strikes again, as it made a new victim in Broward County, Florida. No information on the person’s identity has been revealed.
Mara Gambineri is the spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health. She declared the following on behalf of the institution:
“[Florida health officials have] confirmed a local case of Naegleria fowleri in an individual from Broward County. (…) At this time, we believe that the individual contracted the infection after swimming in unsanitary water on a single private property. (…)The individual is currently in the hospital receiving treatment.”
She also gave further information on the measures authorities can take:
“Health officials continue to investigate the location and are in the process of notifying persons with risk of exposure.”
The news of the Florida swimmer comes a week after the death of an 11-year old girl in South California, caused by the same bacterium (Naegleria Fowleri or the brain-eating amoeba).
Between 1962 and 2015, a number of 138 cases of infection caused by Naegleria Fowleri have been reported in the United States. Only three people survived the terrible illness. Once the amoeba gets to the human sinuses, it climbs higher until it reaches the brain, on which it feeds. It causes inflammation. The infection goes by several names, among which naegleriasis or primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
Although humans cannot contract the disease from other humans, it is deadly. The early symptoms are fever, vomiting, and headaches, among others. The development of the illness leads to other manifestations, such as lack of attention and balance, confusion, hallucination. The amoeba works very fast once it gets into the human organism, as death occurs in at most two weeks after exposure. There is also the option that it could die inside the human body before reaching the brain, which would save people’s life.
If you don’t feel well and experience any kind of discomfort after swimming in warm waters, specialists suggest that you should see a doctor.
Naegleria Fowleri lives in warm waters only, so the seas and oceans are not a threat. Doctors hope that once summer is over, no more cases will appear because people won’t go swimming in lakes and ponds anymore. However, until then, you should be careful when you go swimming.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia