The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County is reminding the community of the risk of Naegleria fowleri ameba when swimming or diving in freshwater bodies. Primary amebic encephalitis (PAM) is an infection of the brain caused by Naegleria fowleri ameba. Florida has the second highest incidence of PAM in the U.S., after Texas. PAM infection occurs when the ameba enters through the nose causing meningitis. Almost all PAM cases are fatal. The majority of infections with Naegleria fowleri occur following swimming or diving in freshwater lakes, rivers or hot springs, or thermally heated bodies of water. Infection may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated tap water <47°C) enters the nose, for example when people submerge their heads or cleanse during religious practices, and when people irrigate their sinuses. Attached you will find an informational flyer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with information on the Naegleria fowleri ameba and methods that may help to reduce the risk of infection, as well as a flyer of Jordan Smelski’s story, a 5th grade graduate at Wilson Elementary School who contracted the ameba last year. For additional information on this ameba, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County at (407) 665-3266.
Click here for the fact sheet about Naegleria and Click here to read about Jordan Smelski's story