Florida man killed by brain-eating amoeba found in tap water

Daytona Beach, FL – A Charlotte County man died from a brain-eating infection after using tap water during sinus rinses. The man, whose identity has not been released, died on Feb. 20, three days before the county health department issued a public alert about the infection.

On Feb.23, DOH-Charlotte reported one case involving Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled living amoeba. The department said infection is rare and can only happen when water contaminated with the amoeba enters through the nose. According to the DOH, you cannot be infected by drinking tap water. Residents were advised to be extra careful while bathing, showering, washing faces, swimming, jumping into water and playing with hoses/sprinklers to avoid water going up the nose. 

Naegleria fowleri can cause an infection of the brain known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) – a condition for which there are no known effective treatments.

What are the symptoms of Naegleria fowleri infection?

The symptoms of a Naegleria fowleri infection typically appear within one to nine days after exposure and may include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Seizures
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash or redness on the arms or legs

These symptoms can progress rapidly and may lead to coma and death within just a few days. It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you develop any of these symptoms after exposure to contaminated water.

According to the CDC, the infection kills over 97% of the people who contract it. Between 1962 and 2021, there were 154 confirmed cases in the US. Only 4 patients survived.

Naegleria fowleri typically lives in warm, freshwater bodies like lakes, rivers, and hot springs. It is extremely rare for this amoeba to be found in swimming pools, splash pads, surf parks, or other recreational venues, but it is possible if they’re poorly maintained or don’t have enough chlorine.

Last year, the Arlington City Council in Texas approved a $250,000 settlement with the parents of Bakari Williams, a 3-year-old boy who died after being infected with the brain-eating amoeba during a visit to a city splash pad.

Who can you sue over contaminated tap water? 

If you believe you have been harmed by contaminated tap water, you should consult with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney who can review the facts of your case and advise you on your legal options. A 2015 report found 80,000 violations of drinking water safety regulations around the country.

The potential defendants may vary depending on the circumstances of your case, but some possible parties you could sue include:

The water company: If the contamination occurred due to the negligence or wrongdoing of the water company or its employees, you may be able to sue them for damages.

Government agencies: If the contamination occurred due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a government agency responsible for regulating the water supply, you may be able to sue the agency.

Manufacturers of chemicals or other substances that contaminated the water: If the contamination was caused by a chemical or other substance that was released into the water supply by a manufacturer or other company in your area, you may be able to sue them.

Property owners: If the contamination occurred due to the actions of a property owner (such as improper disposal of hazardous waste), you may be able to sue the owner.

If you believe you were harmed by contaminated tap water or after visiting a pool in Florida, schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney at the Pappas & Russell PA law firm and have them review your case. 

Contact info:

Pappas & Russell

Phone: (386) 254-2941

213 Silver Beach Avenue

Daytona Beach, Florida 32118

Source: Florida man dies after contracting brain-eating infection from rinsing sinuses with tap water

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