BEDFORD (CBSDFW.COM) - First, two tenants at a Bedford apartment complex develop a rare eye infection. Now, doctors want others to be on the lookout for more people with the illness, because it likely came from a communal swimming pool.
Only two people have confirmed cases of the Acanthamoeba infection. While the illness isn't contagious, it can easy be contracted.
Bonnie Reese and Bryan Tilghman are able to return to the community pool at their apartment complex, but they won't be swimming in the waters anytime soon.
"I went swimming," Reese said, "and immediately, the next day my eyes were messed up."
Speaking about Acanthamoeba -- a microscopic, single-cell organism – Tilghman said, "For as rare as it is… the two of us are swimming in the same pool, at the same time. It's not a coincidence."
Both Reese and Tilghman have serious eye infections, leaving their eyes red with disease for the last two weeks.
Doctor Richard Chu said, "This is very painful. Acanthamoeba is a parasite. Your body can't fight it by itself."
Chu, a cornea specialist, says every indication points to a parasite in the swimming pool as the point of infection for Reese, Tilghman and anyone else swimming there two weeks ago.
"It's not contagious... that's a good thing," Chu said. "It's not contagious from one person to another person, but they (swimmers) should be careful. But if it's out there in the community then they need to see the proper eye doctor to treat it properly. Because delayed treatment will lead to blindness."
An environmental health manager for Tarrant County confirmed completed inspections on the pools in question showed no sign of Acanthamoeba infection then or now.
Apartment dwellers, like Reese and Tilghman, and their doctor say that can't be.
"Something was not right, something's not adding up right here," Reese said, adding, "because he (Tilghman) got it and he was swimming with me that night."
Reese also said that she's concerned because there may be youngsters in the area whose parent's believe they have pink eye, but their condition is much worse.
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