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Concerns over brain-eating amoeba keeps some out of water in Cecil County

Posted at 4:23 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 17:47:05-04

While some continue to enjoy creeks and streams in Cecil County as they normally would, concerns over a rare brain-eating amoeba are keeping others out of the water.

In August a 19-year-old woman contracted a rare amoeba, Naegleria Fowleri, while swimming in a creek in Cecil County on a visit. The amoeba led to a deadly brain infection.

Doctors say the infection is extremely rare and there isn't much that can be done to protect against it. 

"If every little trivial thing after you get into a pool, or after you have a swim, if after every little thing you start getting a spinal tap which is necessary to diagnose the symptoms of an infection, then you'll be doing thousands of spinal tapson people. So I think that's where it gets really tricky," Doctor Faheem Younus of Upper Chesapeake Medical Center said.

"The water quality has just, has always been a problem," Patricia Jones said of North East Creek.

Because this bacteria enters through the nose health officials suggest wearing nose plugs while swimming in natural water.

"Every summer we see a little uptick of these infections," Dr. Younus said.

Related: More cases of the brain-eating infection reported in the U.S.

Fears over the deadly infection are keeping some out of the water altogether.

"I don't go in the water anymore so, but others do so what's causing it and how's it going to be fixed," Jones said.

Others are continuing to enjoy natural waters as they normally would.

"I mean we've known about it and we keep going swimming, I'm not too worried about it, I mean I obviously don't want to get it," Daniel O'Malia said.

The Cecil County Health Department has shared information about the Naegleria Fowleri amoeba on their website.

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