An Ohio teen that visited the White Water Center in Charlotte has just tragically died from a brain-eating amoeba.
According to the CDC’s website, the infectious disease occurs when the amoeba enters the body through the nose, typically during swimming. The CDC states that the amoeba cannot enter the host through drinking contaminated water, or contact with someone else who’s contaminated.
NBC channel 4 in Ohio initially broke the story last night, here is the original video;
The Columbus Dispatch reported the girl’s name as Lauren Seitz. The official cause of her death was Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by Naegleria Fowleri, a one-celled organism that usually becomes fatal when forced up the nose.
Initial symptoms of PAM start about five days after infection, including fever, nausea, headache or vomiting. After the start of the symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and generally causes death within about five days.
According to a news conference held this morning by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Seitz’s only known underwater exposure was believed to be when riding in a raft with several others that overturned at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte.
When Dr. Marcus Plescia with the Health Department was asked if he thought the US National White Water Center is still safe, he replied, “We think the Whitewater Center is as safe as any body of open water.”
At 4:23pm, the US National White Water Center released this official statement, “…The U.S. National Whitewater Center conducts water quality tests every week. Based on these tests and all available information, at all times, the USNWC has been in compliance with all required water quality standards and meets the requirements of all regulatory standards and authorities. The USNWC is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and the Mecklenburg County Health Department to investigate the matter further.”
Naegleria fowleri infections are extremely rare, according to officials. The CDC noted that less than 10 cases have been reported annually in the United State during the last 53 years.
It is still good to always use precautions. When swimming in warmer areas where this infection has been known to occur, it’s recommended that swimmers:
• Keep their head above water when taking part in warm freshwater-related activities to avoid having any water go up the nose.
• Wear certified nose clips and ear plugs when swimming in warm fresh water.
• Avoid stagnant fresh water during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
• Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment in warm fresh water areas.