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In August, a sixteen-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy died in separate incidents from meningitis after contracting Naegleria, a microscopic ameba (single-celled living organism) that can cause a very rare, but severe, infection of the brain. The ameoba quickly eats away at neurons, destroying huge amounts of brain tissue within days.

Now, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has issued a warning to residents: Don't use tap water to rinse your nasal passages. The warning came after a 51-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man died in two separate cases in which each was infected with the "brain-eating" amoeba. Apparently, the amoeba lurked in tap water they used in a neti pot, a pitcher-like device used to rinse nasal passages.

People can get meningitis from the ameba which is commonly found in warm freshwater (lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Naegleria fowleri infects people by entering the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people are swimming or diving in warm freshwater places. It is generally harmless when digested by mouth, so although the tap water is safe for drinking, it is not for irrigating your nose; health officials suggest using distilled or boiled water. When swimming, the CDC wearing nose clips, holding your nose when under water, or not putting your head under water.

Death from the ameba usually occurs within one to twelve days of exposure. If you experience any of these symptoms after using tap water in a net pot or swimming under water, seek medical assistance immediately.

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Inattention to surroundings.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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