WATCH: Swimmer Contracts Brain-Eating Amoeba

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed that a South Carolina resident has an extremely rare brain infection.

Officials say the resident contracted a brain-eating amoeba while swimming in the Edisto River in Charleston County last month.

Health officials would not reveal the status of the patient.   The infection is usually fatal.

Officials say the amoeba is usually found in freshwater, during warm summer months.  To be infected, water must go up your nose with enough force so the amoeba can make its way to the brain.  This is rare.  Officials say there have been fewer than 40 of these cases reported nationwide in the past ten years.

DHEC is offering up a few tips on how to avoid exposure to the potentially deadly amoeba:

  • Avoid water-related activities in warm, untreated, or poorly treated water.
  • Hold your nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities.
  • Avoid digging in or stirring up sediment surrounding warm, fresh water.


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