Oh great, like the abnormal heart rhythms weren't enough -
A dangerous amoeba that thrives in warm, freshwater bodies in the heat of summer caused the recent death of a 16-year-old Central Florida girl, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control confirmed on Monday.
Courtney Nash died Saturday, 10 days after she, her brother and four friends went swimming August 3 in the St. Johns River on Florida's east coast, her uncle, Thomas Uzel, said at a news conference.
"They were having fun just like any other kid would out in the water," he said.
The amoeba, officially known as Naegleria fowleri, is a single-cell, microscopic organism found in such freshwater bodies as lakes, rivers, hot springs and, occasionally, in neglected, unchlorinated swimming pools.
The amoeba typically enters a swimmer's nose and invades the brain causing an almost always fatal infection, according to Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta.
Out of 118 people reported to have had the amoeba infection since 1962, only one survived, Yoder said. Most reported cases have been in the southern states of Florida and Texas, he said.
Yoder said the average age of the amoeba victims is 12. He said experts believe young people are more susceptible because they are more likely to jump into the water, dive to the bottom and otherwise play underwater in ways that force water, and potentially amoebas, up their noses.
Researchers report that the amoebas proliferate when the water temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but they also survive at cooler temperatures.
Anti-fungal drugs are effective against the amoeba in the laboratory, but the infection in humans typically cannot be diagnosed quickly enough to save the patient.
Looks like the same ameoba turned up in Virginia this week as well...
Boy dies from ‘brain-eating amoeba’ in Va.
By Associated Press
Virginia health officials say a child has died of a brain infection from a microscopic bug, sometimes called a “brain-eating amoeba,” that lives in stagnant water.
State epidemiologist Dr. Keri Hall declined to name the child, but the victim’s mother identified him as 9-year-old Christian Alexander Strickland of Henrico County.
The boy died Aug. 5 and Hall received the autopsy results Friday confirming the cause of death as inflammation of the brain and its lining.
The Times-Dispatch reports it’s the first case of an amoeba death in Virginia since 1969.
State health officials issued an advisory Saturday, saying the amoeba proliferates in stagnant freshwater lakes and ponds during hot weather.
The victim’s mother, Amber Strickland, says the boy had attended a fishing day camp at several locations the week before he died.
The CDC is working on a test to detect the amoeba in waterways.
Millions of people swim in water containing the amoeba but only a few die each year. Tricky situation.