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Health Dept. Warns Of Rare Waterborne “Brain-Eating” Bug

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CBS Miami (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSMiami.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSMiami.com/Health

Summer Guide

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida’s health department has issued a warning about a zombie bug that wants to eat your brain.

Okay, so it’s not really a zombie, but it does want to eat your brain. It’s scientific name is “Naegleria fowleri” and it’s amoeba that can be found in rivers and lakes around the state during the summer.

According to the health department, “Contact with this amoeba is rare, but targets a person’s brain and usually results in death. Adverse health effects on humans can be prevented by avoiding nasal contact with the waters, since the amoeba enters through the nasal passages.”

Since 1962, there have been 123 reported cases of the so-called “brain-eating amoeba” which can cause Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) disease which usually leads to death once infected.

So how do you survive the South Florida summer heat and keep your brain intact.

First, stay out of bodies of warm freshwater and thermally polluted water – such as water around power plants. Instead, hit the beach or a pool.

If you do plan on hitting a local lake or river, hold your nose shut or use nose clips when you’re in the water. Also, avoid stirring up the sediment in shallow waters.

You cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water.

If you experience a headache, fever, nausea, disorientation, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, loss of balance, or hallucinations after swimming in a lake or river, contact a health professional immediately. PAM usually becomes fatal within five days of exposure.

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