The Ministry of Health has banned the use of slides in hot springs. Warning signs must be placed and preparations to remove the slides put in motion. This is because of the risk of contracting amoeba that causes meningitis.
The amoeba Naegleria fowleri is a parasite that enters the nose when people put their head under water or the water is splashed at their face. It causes meningitis that is capable of killing 9 out of ten who develop it. Immediate health care is essential. Basic treatment can prevent the amoeba from destroying the brain if treated early.
Two minors contracted the amoeba in the last two months. A 15-year-old contracted it in hot springs in Bagaces, Guanacaste, at the end of December and died in early January. A four-year-old girl contracted it in a hot spring in San Carlos, on February 8, and was treated two days later in a hospital in Cartago. She overcame the illness, something considered exceptional.
Those who want to use hot springs to relax should do so with their head above water and kids should not be allowed to splash. In warm water rivers and lakes, the same precautions should be taken. In addition, you should not move the sediment around in shallow water. Keeping the nose closed is a good idea.