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Brain-eating amoeba death possibly linked to sinus cleansing

Posted at 11:42 AM, Mar 03, 2023

A person in Florida died from a brain-eating amoeba that may be linked to using tap water to rinse their sinuses, health officials said.

The Florida Department of Health did not provide details about the individual. However, it issued a warning in February to residents in Charlotte County.

Health officials say people should use distilled or sterile water only when making sinus rinse solutions. The agency notes that tap water should be boiled for at least one minuted and cooled before sinus rinsing. It also noted people cannot get this type of infection by drinking tap water.

Health officials note that this type of infection is rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been just over 150 brain-eating amoeba infections reported in the U.S. since 1962. Most of the people got the infection from recreational water areas, but several cases were linked to performing nasal irrigation using contaminated tap water.

The Florida Department of Health said people should watch out for symptoms after swimming in warm lakes or rivers or after using a sinus rinse. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, disorientation and nausea.