Amoebas in Swimming Pools? Not Likely.
With the recent news of a 16-year-old girl dying after she was infected by an amoeba in Brevard County, we have received a ton of calls from all over Orlando asking about the threat of amoebas in local swimming pools.
The simple answer is, there is almost no threat of being infected by an amoeba in a properly maintained swimming pool.
Nash, the 16-year-old girl who died from the infection, had been swimming in the St. John’s River, not a swimming pool. She was apparently suffering from some of the symptoms of an amoeba infection, ranging from fever, nausea and headaches to confusion and delirium. Nash was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando. The State Health Department said she had a case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
The Orange County Health Department is warning families in Central Florida about a recent probable case of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) and to be aware of the risks associated with swimming in fresh water. PAM is caused by a microscopic amoeba (mostly Naegleria fowleri species) commonly found in the upper layer of sediment in the bottom of lakes and ponds with mud floors. They also can be present in poorly maintained swimming pools and hot tubs. This infection cannot be spread from person to person or contracted from a properly maintained swimming pool.
The key here is to keep your swimming pool properly maintained. Pools found at distressed or foreclosed properties look very similar to ponds, and without proper circulation and chemicals, natural sediment is able to form along the bottom, making a perfect home for the amoeba.
We only found one case of someone becoming infected from the amoeba virus in a swimming pool, but the pool was lake fed, meaning the same water that was in the lake, was the same water found in the swimming pool.
Prevention is the key. CDC and Health Department recommends the following:
- Don’t swim or jump into warm, stagnant, fresh water, such as ponds or warm water discharge pools, or unchlorinated swimming pools
- Don’t swim in polluted water
- Don’t swim in areas posted as “No Swimming”
- Hold your nose, or use nose plugs when jumping or diving into water
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, or just ask in the comments section below.