Brain-Eating Amoebas: Should Florida Be Worried?

There has been much concern as of late regarding the serious brain-eating amoeba which is commonly found in warm bodies of water. For Floridians, this harmful parasite is hitting home because of the tragic death of twelve year-old Zachary Reyna, who had been infected by Amebic Meningoencephalitis while swimming in the waters outside of his Fort Myer’s residence. It was announced yesterday that Zachary had been kept on a ventilator so that his organs would be able to be harvested after doctor’s realized serious brain damage had been incurred.

Although the sadness caused by this unfortunate and tragic death will ripple on, the event has brought greater attention to preventing future infectious diseases which are most often found in southeastern states. Due to the fact that there have only been 128 individuals infected with the amoebic infection since the early 60s, there has been little to no serious attention focused on the deadly parasite.

Now, there are greater warnings directing those swimming in warm bodies of water to protect themselves. With a fatality rate of nearly 98%, swimmers are being urged to not let the warm waters enter their bodies via the nose, which is the only way for the parasite to successfully enter the body. Although this will not guarantee individuals complete protection from being infected, it will greatly reduce the risk of exposure which is said to be most prevalent during the summer. Even though the summer months are coming to a close, it is imperative that safe swimming practices still be maintained while swimming in the warm waters of Florida.


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