The Florida Department of Health said Friday that a case of the often-fatal amoeba called Naegleria fowleri was detected in Hillsborough County.
The parasite is found naturally in freshwater and can be life-threatening when it enters the body through the nose, causing a condition known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis that destroys brain tissue, health officials said.
“Naegleria fowleri is found in many warm freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers in the United States, but is more common in southern states,” the agency said.
“The low number of infections makes it difficult to know why a few people have been infected compared to the millions of other people that used the same or similar waters across the US.”
“Adverse health effects on humans can be prevented by avoiding nasal contact with the waters, since the amoeba enters through nasal passages,” the agency said.