The following press release was published on July 3, 2014
The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County urges citizens to take precautions while participating in recreational activities in freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds due to the threat posed by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. The Department is currently investigating a primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) case in a school-aged Seminole County resident who died after freshwater exposure outside of the United States. The exposure occurred in a hot spring while visiting another country. No other information on the patient will be released due to confidentiality.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the family at this time . It’s very important to take every precautions while taking part in water-related activities,” said Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Officer of the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County.
It is now known that the victim of this deadly amoeba was 11-year-old, Jordan Smelski of Sanford, FL. A MY FOX Orlando report today says it is believed Jordan contracted the Naegleria while swimming in a hot springs at a resort in Costa Rica.
This occurred around the same time that 9-year-old Hally “Bug” Nicole Yust of Spring Hill, Kansas contracted the deadly parasite.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic ameba (single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The ameba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the ameba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose. You cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page