Florida health officials say there has been a confirmed case of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, in Hillsborough County.
The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals, according to the Department of Health.
Infections can occur when the contaminated water enters the body through the nose.
The peak season for Naegleria fowleri is July through September. Additionally, the amoeba is more commonly found in the southern states, DOH said.
Infection is very rare in Florida, as there have been only 37 reported cases with exposure here since 1962, according to DOH.
Officials add that people can prevent infection by avoiding nasal contact with the waters, DOH said.
One person contracted Naegleria fowleri in Hillsborough County. Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic single-celled living amoeba. The amoeba can cause a rare infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal. pic.twitter.com/icT66tqlkU
— DOH – Hillsborough (@DOHHillsborough) July 3, 2020
They also gave the following recommendations on how people can prevent infection:
-Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs and thermally polluted water such as water around power plants.
-Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
-Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, or hot springs.
-Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.
Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic single-celled living amoeba that can cause a rare infection of the brain, called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which destroys brain tissue and is usually deadly.