Health Officials Hold Press Conference To Warn About Deadly Brai - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Health Officials Hold Press Conference To Warn About Deadly Brain-Eating Amoeba

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Miami, FL -

"I would have you remember which are our warmest months in Florida where the temperatures are going to be higher: July, August and September," says a Florida Department of Health official.

That means, right now is the time Floridians need to be on high alert for Naegleria Fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba found in lakes, rivers, and hot springs...anywhere fresh water is stagnant and at a warmer temperature...like the case of Zachary Reyna, who fell into the water after kneeboarding in a ditch near his home.

Now, Reyna is fighting for his life at Miami Children's Hospital.

"Parents need to be vigilant regarding, considering what exposures might happen during the course of their activities during the warm summer months," says Pat Dobbins, of the Florida Department of Health.

The Florida Department of Health warns the amoeba can be fatal when infected water enters through the nose and goes to the brain.

"Because of the amount of inflammation, and the damages that occur through that process, it does destroy the brain tissue," says Dobbins.

To lower the risk of infection, health officials say people should avoid swimming in freshwater when the water temperature is high and the water level is low. If you do swim in this kind of water, health officials say you should keep your nose above the water, use nose plugs, or keep your head out of the water completely.

This amoeba is not found in saltwater and cannot survive in chlorine.

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