FL Health Officials Warn Of Freshwater Amoeba Attacks

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Source: Department of Health

Source: Department of Health

Businesses Stall As Flood Waters Rise
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Rain, rain and more rain made for a dreary start to Thursday. While for most people the last three days of rain have been nothing more than an inconvenience, for some in Doral and Sweetwater it’s really taken its toll. In Doral, business owner Eric Schigiel said much of the area around his business is underwater. “All of our employees had their cars flooded and damaged,” said Schigiel, “It’s sad that just normal working people have their cars get ruined.” Schigiel owns Opus Stone on Northwest 77th Court and he said he’s he lost as much as $60,000 in business due to the flooding.
Cesar Chaigas of USA Tile and Marble trucked employees in to work. "Most of them parked at a shopping center a few blocks away and we sent one of our semis to pick them up bring them over here," he explained. Although customers couldn't get to the parking lots, he said his employees had to take phone and email orders. Miami-Dade Commissioner Pepe Diaz visited the area to see what the county and city of Doral could do to help the local businesses, but said it’s not an easy problem to fix. “This area’s got a lot of private roads. This was built when our code wasn’t as strong as it is now,” Diaz said. Water managers started draining the C-4 Canal during heavy rainfall last week. Prior to Tuesday’s rain, the canal was at 3.7 feet above sea level which is the lowest they go. But in a six hour period on Tuesday, the water climbed to 5.2 feet above sea level, just slightly less than the 6 foot level when water starts overflowing from canals. Crews opened a 900-acre impoundment area just east of Krome Avenue and 8th Street around 1:00 a.m. Wednesday. The C-4 Impound Area can hold a billion gallons of water in an emergency. Over a 12 hour period they moved roughly 200 million gallons of water into the Impound Area to bring the C-4 Canal down. "It’s a lot of water. A lot of water. And it’s hard to move that kind of water locally," said Michael Gallagher from the South Florida Water Management District (SWMD. This is only the 5th time they’ve used the Impound Area since it was built in 2005. SFWMD officials said the system performed perfectly but Doral may have taken longer to drain because the water must travel through city and county secondary canals. They said there may have been debris blocking drainage systems or the rain simply fell too hard too fast.

MIAMI (CBS4) – A Florida boy continues to fight for his life at Miami Children’s Hospital after being infected by a brain-eating amoeba nearly two weeks ago.

Zachary Reyna, 12, came down with the rare, deadly infection while knee-boarding with friends in a water-filled ditch near his home in LaBelle.

Family posted a message on Facebook Friday night, saying despite Zachary’s deteriorating condition, doctors have agreed to continue with an experimental treatment.

“First of all I want to thank God for giving us and Zac another day. The doctors have granted Zac more time for the treatment and that’s all I can ask for. This is part of God’s plan. Our family has to be patient while God is working with us and with so many others. Thank you Lord for being so caring and loving to all of us. We will continue to pray for Zachary but we understand that it is God’s will. We have faith that He is preparing us for a victory no matter what the outcome is,” it was stated in the post.

Doctors have been using the same experimental treatment on Zachary as those given to Arkansas 12-year-old Kali Hardig, who is recovering from the same infection.

“Because of the amount of inflammation and damages that occur during that process, it does destroy the brain tissue,” said State Health Officer, Dr. Celeste Phillip.

The amoeba called Naegleria Fowleri is found in warm, still waters like lakes, rivers, ponds and puddles.

According to health experts, the amoeba typically enters the body through the nose as people are swimming or diving, then travels to the brain.

The Florida Department of Health says summer is the worst time of the year for kids to play in those bodies of water.

“I will have you remember which are our warmest months in Florida where the temperatures are going to be higher, July, August and September,” said Pat Robbins with the Florida Department of Health.

Since being hospitalized, support for Zachary has spread through social media. A facebook page dedicated to him has more than 7-thousand likes as of Friday night. Tweets are also pouring in, with people using the hashtag #pray4number4– hoping Zachary will be the fourth person to ever beat the infection.

Zachary’s family remains at his bedside, updating the public about his condition through social media. They say they are touched by the love from around the world, and hope their pain will help raise awareness about the fatal infection they had never heard about until now.

Here are some tips to help lower the risk of infection:

–          Avoid swimming in freshwater when the water temperature is high and the water level is low.

–          Hold your nose closed when underwater or use nose clips.

–          Avoid stirring up sediment while wading in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

“Parents need to be vigilant regarding considering what exposures might happen during the course of their activities during the warm summer months,” added Dr. Phillip.

Medical experts said it can take up to a week to notice symptoms of the amoeba.
They include headache, fever, vomiting and seizures.

This type of amoeba is not found in saltwater and can not survive in chlorine.

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