Brain-eating amoeba confirmed in South Carolina

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Brain-Eating Amoeba Confirmed In South Carolina

A South Carolina resident has been exposed to a brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri.

The rare, potentially deadly amoeba is naturally present in warm fresh water -- yet it's generally quite difficult to contract. According to health officials the individual was reportedly swimming near Martin's Landing on the Edisto River in Charleston County.

See images of the deadly bacteria:

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Brain-eating amoeba - Naegleria fowleri
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Brain-eating amoeba - Naegleria fowleri
This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living, Naegleria fowleri, amebic infection. When free-living amebae infect the brain or spinal cord, the condition is known as primary amebic men
This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living, Naegleria fowleri, amebic infection. When free-living amebae infect the brain or spinal cord, the condition is known as primary amebic men
Under a magnification of 630X, and implementing a the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining technique, this photomicrograph depicts histopathologic characteristics associated with a case of amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri parasites. Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the ameba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. The Naegleria fowleri ameba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue. Image courtesy CDC/Dr. Visvesvara, 1980. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living amebic infection, which may have been caused by either a Naegleria fowleri, or an Acanthamoeba sp. Naegleria fowleri produces an acute, and usually lethal, central nervous system (CNS) disease called primary amebic meingoencephalitis (PAM). Trophozoites infect humans or animals by entering the olfactory neuroepithelium and reaching the brain. N. fowleri trophozoites are found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and tissue, while flagellated forms are occasionally found in CSF. Image courtesy CDC/Dr. Martin D. Hicklin, 1964. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living amebic infection, which may have been caused by either a Naegleria fowleri, or an Acanthamoeba sp. Naegleria fowleri produces an acute, and usually lethal, central nervous system (CNS) disease called primary amebic meingoencephalitis (PAM). Trophozoites infect humans or animals by entering the olfactory neuroepithelium and reaching the brain. N. fowleri trophozoites are found in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and tissue, while flagellated forms are occasionally found in CSF. Image courtesy CDC/Dr. Martin D. Hicklin, 1964. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).
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Naegleria fowleri doesn't cause illness if swallowed, but can be deadly if it's forced up the nose and can reach the brain. The amoeba is only found in fresh water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

The CDC notes that only about 10 cases are reported in the U.S. each year, and nearly all are fatal.

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