We’re all tempted to play in fresh water pools on our river trips. Here’s something to watch out for–I edited it to shorten. At the end are some things you can do to protect yourself:
16-Year-Old Girl Dies After Amoeba Infection
Updated: 12:58 pm EDT August 15, 2011
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A 16-year-old girl has died after she was infected by an amoeba in Brevard County, according to officials. The Brevard County Health Department told WFTV it believes Courtney Nash was infected during a recent swim in the St. John’s River.
Officials believe Nash, who was an Astronaut High School student, may have come across the amoeba while swimming in the St. John’s River, not far from her family’s home in Mims last week.
Nash was apparently suffering from some of the symptoms of an amoeba infection, ranging from fever, nausea and headaches to confusion and delirium. The State Health Department said she had a case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
Health officials said this kind of infection is almost always fatal. But they also said contracting the life-threatening amoeba is rare. They told WFTV that cases like this almost always happen in the summer and only in freshwater lakes and ponds where water is above 80 degrees.
The amoebas typically live at the bottom of those bodies of water, and when stirred up, it can enter the human body through the nose or ear canal, according to health officials. The infection normally sets in quickly and symptoms are almost immediate, including fever, headache, nausea and disorientation.
Prevention is the key. The Brevard County Health Department recommends the following:
- Don’t swim or jump into warm, stagnant, fresh water, such as ponds or warm water discharge pools, or non-chlorinated swimming pools.
- Don’t swim in polluted water.
- Don’t swim in areas posted as “No Swimming.”
- Hold your nose, or use nose plugs when jumping or diving into water.