In a press release issued Friday, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) said one person in Hillsborough County contracted Naegleria fowleri — a microscopic, single-celled amoeba that “destroys the brain tissue and is usually fatal.”
According to the DOH, the amoeba is usually found in warm, fresh water such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals in the United States, but is more common in the southern states.
“Adverse health effects on humans can be prevented by avoiding nasal contact with the waters, since the amoeba enters through nasal passages,” the release reads.
Symptoms of primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) — the disease caused by the amoeba — include severe frontal headache, fever, nausea, seizures, hallucinations and coma.
“Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels,” the DOH recommends.