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March 8, 2023

Around the nation: Nearly 200K Florida residents warned about brain-eating amoeba

Daily Briefing

    Florida health officials warned almost 200,000 residents that they "should avoid any water going into the nose" after a man died from a brain-eating amoeba last month, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Florida.

    • District of Columbia: Adam Jentleson, Sen. John Fetterman's (D-Pa.) chief of staff, on Monday said the senator had a "productive morning" discussing rail safety legislation from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he has been receiving treatment for clinical depression since Feb. 15. "While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks," Jentleson said after Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed. "John is well on his way to recovery and wanted me to say how grateful he is for all the well wishes," said Jentleson in a Twitter post. "He's laser focused on PA & will be back soon." (Ravipati, Axios, 3/6)
    • District of Columbia: White House officials announced that the Biden administration is considering a vaccination plan for poultry — a move that comes as the current outbreak of avian influenza caused the deaths of tens of millions of chickens and spurred concerns that the virus may eventually have the potential to spread to humans and trigger another pandemic. While experts at CDC have said the risk of a pandemic is low, the agency sent drug manufacturers flu virus samples that could create a baseline vaccine for people. In addition, CDC is exploring whether commercial test manufacturers would develop tests for H5N1. "My own opinion is under the present circumstances, we should be vaccinating the poultry population of the United States against H5N1 — absolutely," said Robert Webster, an expert in avian influenza at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. A campaign could "prevent the inevitable transmission to humans," he noted. (Stolberg/Anthes, New York Times, 3/7)
    • Florida: Health officials told nearly 200,000 Floridians to avoid allowing water into their noses while bathing, showering, washing their faces, or swimming in blow-up pools after a man died from a brain-eating amoeba last month. On Feb. 20, an anonymous Charlotte County man died after contracting the infection from washing his face and rinsing his sinuses with infected tap water, officials believe. Infections from Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled amoeba, occur when contaminated water enters the nose, but they are very rare. Currently, there is no known treatment, and 97% of infected individuals die after becoming infected. According to CDC, this is the first instance where a Florida resident was infected through tap water and the first U.S. case that occurred during a winter month. Mobeen Rathore, a disease expert at the University of Florida, advised all Charlotte County residents to avoid exposing their nose to tap water. "Unless it's cleared [by authorities] you should avoid any water going into the nose, at least for now," Dr. Rathore told The Daily Mail. "In the shower, avoid getting anything into the nose." Officials noted that people cannot become infected through drinking tap water. (Vacchiano, Fox News, 3/3)

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