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New alert in Florida, Ameba brainwashing

The Florida Department of Health alerted to a new case of Naegleria fowleri, an amoeba that destroys brain tissue and often causes death, and called for caution during activities in fresh and warm waters this summer.

This parasite, scientifically known as Naegleria fowleri, lives in the environment without causing harm to humans, but when it proliferates in warm waters it can cause lethal infections, reaching the brain through olfactory nerves during bathing.

The microscopic amoeba, called "brainworms", is found mainly in lakes, rivers, ponds and hot springs. Upon entering the human body it produces a devastating brain infection, a condition known as "Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis" (PAM).

The bacteria is usually contracted by people in contaminated water that enters the body through the nose or mouth.

The state Health Department, which does not detail statistics on the condition, noted that the only known way to prevent Naegleria fowleri infections is to abstain from activities in warm, fresh water. She noted, however, that some common sense measures could reduce the risk by limiting the chance of contaminated water going up the nose. She called for avoiding water activities, especially when water levels are low.

"Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels through the brain and causes the condition called PAM, which is almost always fatal," said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The website of this state agency noted that the case was presented in Hillsborough County, on the west coast of Florida, but did not detail the patient or her condition.


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