North Carolina Swimmer Dies From Fresh Water Brain-Eating Amoeba


The NC Department of Health and Human Resources just sent out an alert after an individual died from a brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a North Carolina water park.

The official cause of death was a Naegleria Fowleri brain infection, the same organism that infected and killed an 18-year-old girl at the National Whitewater Center in 2016.

“An individual died after developing an illness caused by an amoeba that is naturally present in warm freshwater during the summer. The individual became ill after swimming in Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County on July 12, 2019,” the press release noted.

The infections increase in frequency when the weather is exceptionally hot and dry, resulting in higher water temperatures and lower water levels. Symptoms of a Naegleria Fowleri infection include; severe headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, progressing to stiff neck, seizures, and an eventual coma.

“Our sympathies are with the family and loved ones,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D. “People should be aware that this organism is present in warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs across North Carolina, so be mindful as you swim or enjoy water sports.” 

In warmer fresh water lakes and rivers, where this infection has been more common, the state recommends the following precautions:

  • Limit the amount of water going up your nose. Hold your nose shut, use nose clips or keep your head above water when taking part in warm freshwater-related activities.
  • Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
  • Wear certified nose clips and ear plugs when swimming in warm fresh water.
  • Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

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