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Swimming? Take Precautions Against This Amoeba

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Florida Channel
Use a nose clip or don't submerge under water to avoid contracting meningitis from this common amoeba.

Freshwater swimmers are being warned to wear nose clips as the weather gets warmer.

Florida Department of Health’s Kent Donahue says the amoeba called Naegleria fowleri found in ponds, lakes, and even untreated pools and hot tubs can cause a type of deadly meningitis.

“Unfortunately, it’s almost always fatal. And the amoeba travels up the swimmer’s nose to the brain and spinal cord, it definitely happens during the activities of swimming, diving, skiing, or wake boarding so you want to make sure you take precautions when you’re doing these activities this summer.”

The amoeba infects the back and spine after entering through a swimmer’s nose. 

Symptoms including fever, headache, stiff neck, and vomiting require, that may not present for two weeks after water activities, require immediate medical attention.