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Florida man dies from brain-eating amoeba – possibly after rinsing his nose with tap water

According to health officials, a man in the United States died of a brain-eating amoeba after drinking tap water.

The death was confirmed by the Florida Department of Health, Charlotte County in a news release dated 23 February. However, the release did not give any details about the victim.

Although the cause of the naegleria Fowleri infection was initially thought to be sinus rinsing, the department stated that they were still investigating.

Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism, can be found in soil and freshwater around the world.


The amoeba infects the body via the nose and then travels to brain where it causes severe brain damage. This is called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. It is almost always fatal.

The majority of infections are caused by swimming in warm rivers or lakes in summer. This is because the organism loves heat and thrives in high temperatures.

Headaches, fever, nausea and loss of balance are some symptoms.

More information from the USA

According to the department, tap water cannot infect people and it is recommended that people use sterile or distilled water for sinus rinses.

They suggested boiling tap water for at least 1 minute, then cooling it before rinsing the sinuses.

According to official statistics, Naegleria fowleri infection is rare. There were only three cases of the disease in the US last fiscal year.

These cases were caused by exposure to freshwater in Iowa, Arizona, and Nebraska.

Three cases were reported in each of 2019 and 2020.


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