Seminole County child dies from rare amoeba

Child contracted amoeba in hot springs outside of U.S.

SANFORD, Fla. - A Seminole County school-aged child died after being exposed to a rare amoeba while swimming in a hot springs in another country, according to health officials.

The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County is investigating the case of a rare amoeba officially called Naegleria fowleri. The health department said exposures to the amoeba are rare but prove to be fatal.

No other details, including the country where the amoeba was contracted and the child's age, were released.

Although the amoeba was contracted elsewhere, the Seminole County Health Department encouraged swimmers to take precautions during the summer.  The department's recommendations include:

  • Avoiding water activities in bodies of warm freshwater and thermally polluted water such as water near power plants.
  • Avoiding water activities during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
  • Keeping your head out of the water or using nose clips when taking part in activities in bodies of warm freshwater.
  • Avoiding digging or stirring up sediment while taking part in water activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

According to health officials, it is also imperative to contact a health care provider immediately if someone experiences any of the following symptoms after swimming in freshwater: headache, fever, nausea, disorientation, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, loss of balance or hallucinations.

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