Florida residents warned about tap water after man dies from brain-eating amoeba
Nearly a quarter of a million Floridians are being warned to avoid washing their faces with tap water after a man died of a brain-eating amoeba in February.
The advisory, which applies to about 200,000 Charlotte County residents, follows the Feb. 20 death of a county resident.
Authorities believe the unidentified man contracted the brain-eating infection from washing his face and rinsing his sinuses with infected tap water.
Infection from Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled amoeba, is rare. The infection is known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and occurs when contaminated water enters the nose.
Toddler dies after being infected by rare brain-eating amoeba found on Texas splash pad
There is no known effective treatment for this disease, which kills about 97% of people. Only four patients have survived the infection in the US from 1962 to 2021.
The CDC told FOX 4 Fort Myers that this is the first case where someone in Florida was infected through tap water. It is also the first such case to occur in a winter month in the US.
Dr. Mobin Rathore, a pathologist at the University of Florida, advised that all Charlotte County residents avoid blowing their noses for runny noses during this time.
Illinois man dies of rabies in state’s first human case since 1950s
“Until it’s clear [by authorities] You should avoid getting water in the nose, at least for now,” Dr. Rathore told the Daily Mail. “In the shower, avoid putting anything in the nose.”
If this is unavoidable, residents are advised to boil water first. Officials stressed that drinking tap water cannot cause infection.
Click here to get the Fox News app
“Infection with Naegleria fowleri is extremely rare and can only occur when water contaminated with the amoeba enters the body through the nose,” the Florida Department of Health tweeted Friday. “You can’t get infected by drinking tap water.”
Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.