A man has died in the US’ Florida after contracting brain-eating infection from rinsing sinuses with tap water, according to a Fox News report. Three days before the county health department issued a public notice about the virus, the individual, who has not been named but was recognized as a citizen of Charlotte County, passed away on February 20, as per the report.
DOH-Charlotte reported one instance involving the microscopic, single-celled live amoeba Naegleria fowleri. The department emphasized that it cannot be transmitted by drinking tap water and that illness is uncommon and only occurs when water contaminated with the amoeba enters through the nose.
Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), an infection of the brain caused by the amoeba, is a disorder for which there are no known effective therapies.
The CDC has stated that this is the first instance of a tap water infection in Florida and the first instance of a case being recorded during the winter in the United States. It’s also the first Naegleria fowleri infection case to be recorded this year, as per the Fox News report.
Almost 97 per cent of those who contract the virus have died, according to the CDC. Just four verified patients have survived the virus in the United States out of 154 known affected people between 1962 and 2021.
The amoeba often inhabits warm, watery areas like lakes, rivers, and hot springs, according to the CDC. The government warns avoiding digging in or disturbing up dirt in shallow, warm fresh water since it is likely to be discovered dwelling in silt at the bottom of lakes, ponds, and rivers.
While Naegleria fowleri is exceedingly uncommon, it is conceivable in unclean or inadequately chlorinated swimming pools, splash pads, surf parks, or other recreational areas.
DOH-Charlotte announced after the death that it is “continuing to examine how this illness happened and is working with the local public utilities to uncover any potential linkages and make any required remedial steps.”
Residents in Charlotte County must exercise particular caution when bathing, showering, washing their faces, swimming, diving into water, and playing with hoses or sprinklers, the agency advised in the public notice.
It also said that distilled or sterile water should always be used to create sinus rinse solutions. Tap water can be boiled for at least a minute before cooling.