Florida Health Department warning the residents In Charlotte County, after a local man died from a brain-eating amoeba infection, he was careful when swimming and washing his face, and avoided using unsterilized tap water for nasal rinsing.
They instruct residents to keep water out of their noses when showering or swimming, children playing unsupervised with hoses and sprinklers, and activities that cause water to squirt out of their noses. I asked them not to do so.
The Florida Department of Health stressed that you cannot get infected with this creature. Naegleria fowleri, by drinking tap water. Amoebas cause an infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is almost always fatal.
Health officials issued an alert on February 23 but gave no details about the deceased patient. The press reports that the patient was a man who had been rinsing his sinuses daily with non-boiling tap water.
Infections and deaths are dramatic, but fortunately rare. “Anyone can become infected in the right environment, but the risk is low,” said Dr. Adarsh Vimraj, an infectious disease physician at Houston Methodist.
of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention We recorded 154 cases of PAM from Naegleria fowleri Occurred in the United States between 1962 and 2021. All but four died.
not the first time
This isn’t the first time someone has contracted an amoeba by rinsing their nasal passages with unsterilized tap water.of Louisiana Department of Health recorded two deaths in 2011. Both were caused by tap water fed through a neti pot, a type of sinus irrigation system that uses salt and water.
Naegleria fowleri It can also get into your nose when swimming or diving. In 2021, 10 year old girl from texas He probably died of infection after swimming in a splash pad near Dallas where the creature was detected.
Naegleria fowleri This is not the only amoeba that can cause sickness and death.a 69-year-old woman from Seattle apparently died after coming into contact with an amoeba Balamsia mandrillarisagain through tap water in a neti pot, and the water was run through a Brita water filter. Balamsia mandrillaris cause a much slower infection than Naegleria fowleri.
A third type of amoeba, Acanthamoeba, can also infect humans, according to a study in . ID caseAll are free-living, meaning they don’t need a host to survive, Bhimraj explained. “It’s not uncommon to find them in the environment.”
Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, said the reason brain-eating infections are so uncommon is that “everything has to be a perfect match.” said it was for the sake of
First, you have to start with a water source that contains amoebas. Still, not everyone exposed to the same polluted water gets sick. “If it’s just flushing it out or going down the esophagus, there’s nothing wrong with it,” he explains Dumois.
Yet, infectious microbes still have a long way to go to reach one of the olfactory nerves. These nerves give us the ability to perceive smells. This is the same thing that some people with COVID have been damaged. Bacteria can crawl through nerves and enter the brain, causing an infection. “If the amoeba doesn’t find that nerve, it’s over,” Dumois said. “Otherwise it’s just bad luck due to a particular chain of events.”
Once settled in the brain, Naegleria fowleri It invades brain tissue and consumes brain cells. This causes the immune system to try to fight it off. “Many white blood cells get in there and try to destroy the amoeba. In the process, the white blood cells also cause damage,” Dumois said. There are areas to do.”
generally, Naegleria fowleri Occurs in temperate climates where organisms thrive. Most of the recorded infections occurred in 15 southern states, with Texas and Florida accounting for almost half. Further north, like Michigan and Minnesota, infections tend to occur in the summer. Amoebas live only in fresh water such as lakes and rivers, and sometimes in brackish water, and do not live in sea water.
Infection generally peaks in July and August. But experts predict that infections will become more common in northern regions as a result of climate change. “Climate change has made temperatures warm enough, even in Wisconsin and Minnesota,” Bhimraj said.
It is also found in pools that are not properly chlorinated and in municipal water supplies under certain conditions. In the case of tap water, “the problem lies in how the water spreads,” Dumois explained. “Water is treated in a water treatment plant and pumped into pipes. The longer you stay inside, the lower the chlorine level will be.” The chlorine concentration will drop after a period of inactivity.
Brain Infection Symptoms and Treatment
Patients with brain infections caused by PAM, Naegleria fowleri, It usually begins with symptoms of meningitis. Fever, a stiff neck, and “the worst headache I’ve ever had.” They may then have seizures, hallucinations, and even coma.
According to Dumois, survival is highly dependent on whether the infection is correctly diagnosed early and treated. A doctor may do a spinal tap to check for various bacteria that cause meningitis but not amoebas. “You only doubt Naegleria fowleri If the patient is told or asked if he or she has had a situation where fresh water has come up into the nose.
Doctors usually treat PAM with a combination of drugs, including several antibiotics.
First and foremost, never use water directly from the faucet to cleanse your sinuses. Water that has been boiled for 1-5 minutes and cooled is safe, as is commercial distilled water. “That’s the kind of water you want to use,” said Bhimraj. “Why take the risk?”
Washing your face can be dangerous. “If you can wash your face without getting water in your nose, you should be fine with regular tap water,” Dumois said. “If you tend to get water in your nose when you wash your face, you may be doing it too vigorously anyway.”
Swimming in salt water is not dangerous. It’s safe to swim in fresh water, but don’t put your head under the water, said Dumois.Swimming, diving, splashing, waterskiing, or using the water slides in the water can be a misfortune. It can lead to chance encounters. Naegleria fowleriCovering your nose can help, as can wearing a tight-fitting diving mask that covers your eyes and nose. “As long as it fits snugly, it will keep most of the water out of your nose,” Dumois said.