Experts warn swimmers of amoebas

By Julie Broughton - Anchor

As water temperatures climb into the mid 80s, experts warn swimmers to beware of potentially deadly amoebas.

According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Juan Diaz, cases of amoebic infection are most common in the southeastern United States during the late summer months. Dr. Diaz says swimming in shallow water can increase your risk. He also advises against jumping into the water without plugging your nose, and says use caution with water sports.

"If you're going to be doing any type of recreational activities that involve water going through your nose, you should wear nose clips."

Dr. Diaz says the first symptom of an infection is often a loss or change in taste, followed by symptoms similar to meningitis, like neck stiffness, headaches, and confusion. The average incubation period is five to seven days. According to Dr. Diaz, the mortality rate with this type of infection is 98%

"We don't want to cause hysteria, but if you have the proper link and symptoms, the faster you come in, the more likely you are to have a better outcome, which is bleak to start with," said Dr. Diaz.

Amoebas are only a concern in fresh water sources, like lakes and rivers.

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