18 year old dies from brain-eating amoeba found in North Carolina water park

A teen in North Carolina died from a brain-eating infection she developed after visiting a North Carolina water park. Parts of the U.S. National Whitewater Center near Charlotte are closed this week, after an 18 year old visitor contracted the Naegleria fowleri amoeba and died two days later. Parts of the park were temporarily closed and health officials have identified multiple sites that tested positive for the dangerous amoeba.

Naegleria fowleri DNA was found to be present in the closed loop whitewater system. A total of 11 samples were tested from different parts of the center and the majority tested positive for the amoeba. The brain-eating amoeba is often found in warm bodies of water, including lakes and ponds. Once infected water comes into contact with the sinuses, the amoeba can then migrate and infect the brain. Naegleria fowleri can cause meningitis and meningoencephalitis, inflammation that can destroy brain tissue and is almost always deadly.

 

Only a handful of people become infected with the amoeba every year in the U.S. Naegleria fowleri caused only 35 infection in the U.S. Between 2005 and 2014, according to the CDC. In 2013,the single-celled organism killed a 4 year old who likely got it playing on a backyard slip-n-slide. It was also found in New Orleans tap water, which was likely not disinfected properly.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers