The Charlotte County Health Department is investigating a possible case of brain-eating amoebas

An invisible, dangerous brain-eating amoeba may have found its way into tap water in Charlotte County. It’s extremely rare for someone to become infected in the first place, but the health department is investigating a unique case.

The Charlotte County Health Department believes this happened when the victim used a sinus rinse, such as a Neti Pot.

Experts say that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. This is a rare occurrence, so don’t worry about your tap water.

The Charlotte County Health Department says it has a confirmed case of a brain-eating amoeba and is investigating the possibility that the amoeba infected the victim by first surviving in tap water.

An amoeba is a small, single-celled organism so small that it can only be seen under a microscope. It has no solid body shape. They live in freshwater ponds, streams and lakes, some of which are deadly.

“You start feeling dizzy and light-headed,” said Barry Rosen of FGCU’s Water School, describing some of the symptoms of having an amoeba. “It has to get to the brain.”

Rosen said the only way for that to happen is through a sinus rinse, such as a Neti Pot.

The Centers for Disease Control says as of November 2022, while possible, it has not recorded such a case.

“It’s so rare that you know it would be hard for me to say, ‘Yeah, you should be worried about it.’ It’s far too rare for that to happen,” Rosen said.

The Charlotte County Health Department is clear that investigators have not confirmed anything. No one will say who is infected, their age, the prognosis of the victim or where it happened.

Rosen narrowed it down. “Tap water can mean it comes from the tap, but it can also come from their own well, right? Tap water from a municipal supplier is therefore chlorinated. And that level of chlorine they’re applying is strong enough to kill this amoeba. Shouldn’t be a problem.”

An amoeba typically lives in a lake or pond in temperatures above 75 or 80 degrees. A brain-eating amoeba can only infect a person through the nose. You cannot get infected by drinking tap water.

People in Charlotte County said they are alarmed that such a thing could be possible, even though it is extremely rare.

“We’re a bit shocked by it,” said Kirk Huang. “It makes us all really surprised that something like this would be in this particular community.”

“I’m totally alarmed,” said Larke H. “Any kind of health issues like this because we’re older. We also have a baby in the house. I would only hope that the Charlotte County health department, the CDC, picks it up and puts it right there. comes behind.

Symptoms include headache, fever, disorientation, hallucinations and seizures. While it’s rare for someone to get a brain-eating amoeba, it’s also rare for that person to survive.

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