COLUMBIA, S.C. – Health officials say a South Carolina resident has contracted a rare, potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba that is naturally present in warm fresh water.
State Department of Health and Environmental Control epidemiologist Linda Bell tells news outlets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the patient was exposed to Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER'-ee-uh FOW'-lur-ee), a one-celled organism that can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
Bell says the individual is believed to have been exposed to the amoeba while swimming July 24 near Martin's Landing on the Edisto River in Charleston County.
The organism doesn't cause illness if swallowed, but can be deadly if forced up the nose. The CDC said only 10 cases or so are reported each year, nearly all of them fatal.