CDC Report Video: Florida Man dies after contracting brain-eating infection from tap water

Florida man dies after contracting brain-eating infection from rinsing sinuses with tap water. The CDC reports over 97% of people who contracted Naegleria fowleri from 1962 to 2021 died.

A man in south Florida died from a brain-eating infection last month after using tap water during sinus rinses, according to FOX 4.

The man, who has not been named but was identified as a resident of Charlotte County, died on Feb. 20, three days before the county health department issued a public alert about the infection.

DOH-Charlotte reported one case involving Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled living amoeba, on Feb. 23. The department said infection is rare and can only happen when water contaminated with the amoeba enters through the nose, stressing that it cannot be contracted by drinking tap water.

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CDC report

The amoeba can cause an infection of the brain known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) – a condition that does not have any known effective treatments.


In a statement to FOX 4, the CDC said this is the first case ever in Florida where a person was infected through tap water, and the first ever case reported in winter months in the U.S. It’s also the first reported case of Naegleria fowleri infection this year.

According to the CDC, the infection kills over 97% of the people who contract it. Out of 154 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2021, only four confirmed patients have survived the infection.

Last summer, then 13-year-old Caleb Ziegelbauer contracted a possible brain-eating amoeba while swimming at Port Charlotte Beach Park, which is in Charlotte County, Florida.

Though his case has not been confirmed by the CDC as the Naegleria fowleri infection, his medical team reportedly believes that’s what it was. As of last week, he is still alive and remains on the road to recovery.

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