SC Resident Hospitalized After Being Exposed to Brain-Eating Amoeba

The extremely rare infection can be deadly.

— -- A South Carolina resident has contracted an infection from rare brain-eating amoeba after swimming in the Edisto River in Charleston County, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

Naegleria fowleri is found only in freshwater bodies, not in saltwater.

Infection can result if water containing the organism enters a person's nose. To prevent infection, Bell advises avoiding swimming in or jumping into bodies of warm freshwater when water levels are low. She also recommends holding one's nose underwater or using a nose plug. A person cannot be infected by drinking water containing the amoeba, she says.

Heather Woolwine, spokeswoman for the Medical University of South Carolina, confirmed to ABC News that a person was being treated at the facility for the infection but could not provide any further information.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert, told ABC News earlier this year that avoiding all freshwater may be impractical, since Naegleria fowleri amoebas "are in small numbers everywhere."

"They go hibernate in the wintertime. They're part of natural environment," he said.

ABC News' Gillian Mohney contributed to this report.