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The US is the worst affected country across the globe with almost three million cases and 132,007 deaths at the time of writing. Now, one of the worst affected areas has seen an outbreak of a second deadly disease with could be fatal.
A case of a rare brain-eating amoeba has now been confirmed in Florida, according to health officials in the US state. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that one person in Hillsborough County has contracted the rare disease known as Naegleria fowleri.
The microscopic, single-celled amoeba can cause an infection of the brain, and is usually fatal.
The disease is commonly found in warm freshwater and enters the body through the nose.
The DOH did not outline where the infection was contracted, or the patient’s condition.
However, unlike the coronavirus, amoeba cannot be passed from person to person.
Infections are typically seen in southern US states.
However, they are incredibly rare.
Cases are rare in Florida, with only 37 cases have been reported since 1962.
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Nonetheless, the infection has potentially deadly consequences.
The DOH issued a warning to residents of Hillsborough County on 3 July.
Health officials urged locals to avoid nasal contact with water from taps and other sources.
This includes bodies of open water such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals, where infections are more likely in the warmer summer months of July, August and September.
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Symptoms of those infected with Naegleria fowleri include: fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headaches.
Most who become infected die within a week.
The DOH has urged people who experience those symptoms to “seek medical attention right away, as the disease progresses rapidly”.
“Remember, this disease is rare and effective prevention strategies can allow for a safe and relaxing summer swim season,” the DOH said.
Naegleria fowleri infections are rare in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Between 2009 and 2018, only 34 infections were reported in the country.
Of those cases, 30 people were infected by recreational water, three after performing nasal irrigation with contaminated tap water, and one person was infected by contaminated tap water used on a backyard slip-n-slide, the CDC said.
The news comes after Florida and Texas hit a record number of daily coronavirus cases, respectively reporting 11,445 and 8,258 new cases on Saturday according to figures released by the states’ health departments.
The spike in cases in Florida and Texas represented about 43% of the more than 45,000 daily cases reported in the US Saturday.
The virus has infected more than 200,000 people total in Florida and at least 3,731 people have died.
Infections continued to increase by the thousands Sunday with Florida reporting at least 9,999 new cases and Texas reporting at least 3,449.
The total number of infections in Texas has now reached more than 195,000 as hospitalisations there surge.
Hospitals in at least two Texas counties are at full capacity and local officials are urging residents there to shelter-in-place and avoid gatherings.
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