Brain Eating Amoeba in Florida. Here's what You Need to Know

As if 2020 wasn't stressful, and deadly enough, we now have brain-eating amoeba to worry about. The Florida Health Department reported a case of Naegleria fowleri in Hillsborough County, Florida, on Friday. (July 3rd)

The infection is acquired through the nose in a number of ways including swimming in fresh lake water or poorly chlorinated pools. Once the amoeba enters the body it finds its way to the brain where it starts eating away at it causing what’s know as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Over 145 Amoeba infections were reported between 1962 and 2018 with only four people surviving the infection. 

If you’ve been swimming in lakes or pools over the holiday weekend here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Symptoms include a severe frontal headache
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting.

The second stage of symptoms

  • stiff neck
  • seizures
  • altered mental status
  • hallucinations, and coma.

This amoeba can be mistaken for bacterial meningitis, which can delay the treatment.