FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSmiami) — A person is hospitalized in Broward after they contracted a brain-eating amoeba while swimming.
The gender of the person and where they contracted have not been released, but the Florida Department of Health did say it was contracted in an unsanitary body of water on private property somewhere in Broward.
Health officials would not tell CBS4’s Carey Codd where that property is – only that they’re notifying people who might have been exposed.
The person infected is being treated at a hospital.
The head of an Orlando company called Profounda is the only company in the U.S. that makes a drug that fights the deadly amoeba.
CEO Todd McLaughlin would not tell an Orlando TV station where they sent their product in Florida – only that they jumped into action when they got a call.
“We’re hoping now with what’s happening here in Florida that we can beat the clock and get there in time,” McLaughlin said.
Others haven’t been so lucky.
Hannah Collins died in South Carolina Friday, August 5th, after contracting the amoeba. She was just 11 years old.
And in June, high school student Lauren Seitz died after getting infected at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in North Carolina.
“Lauren loved everyone. Lauren loved everything. She was beautiful with everything,” Katie Bush said.
Her friends said the teen got sick during a church mission trip and her spirit lives on.
“It was never about herself. It was always about other people. If people live more like Lauren did, the place would be a better place,” Bush said.
The infection stems from a microscopic, single-cell amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. It is found in the brackish waters of freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers.
It can attack the brain if it gets into the nasal cavity.
Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stick neck. They usually appear between one to 14 days after infection.
The disease progresses rapidly and infection usually results in death in three to seven days.
The Centers for Disease Control said there are some things you can do to avoid an infection.
First, avoid diving, swimming or jumping in fresh water during periods of high water temperature.
And if you do go in that water, hold your nose shut or keep your head above the water.
Infections from this brain-eating amoeba are extremely rare.
Over the past 11 years, there have only been 37 documented cases in the U.S.
Florida is one of 18 states with previously reported cases.