Via The Guardian: Brain-eating amoeba forces closure at North Carolina waterpark after death. Excerpt:
A North Carolina waterpark has shut down rafting activities after an Ohio teenager was killed by a brain-eating amoeba.
Lauren Seitz, 18, died last Sunday after she was exposed to the amoeba at the US National Whitewater Center (USNWC), a Charlotte-area center where she went with a church group earlier this month. According to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Seitz died of a rare brain infection caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.
“Initial test results found Naegleria fowleri DNA was present in the whitewater system,” the USNWC said in a statement. At a press conference, Mecklenburg County health director Marcus Plescia said most of 11 samples tested by the CDC this week showed preliminary evidence of the amoeba.
“On behalf of the USNWC, I wish to express our sincere condolences and sympathies to Lauren and her family,” chief executive Jeffrey Wise said in a separate statement. “Our focus is always on stressing safety and risk in the most appropriate manner possible.”
State health officials noted that the amoeba is common in warm lakes, rivers and springs in summer, and said in a statement that it does not cause illness if swallowed, but can be fatal if forced up the nose. The one-celled organism does not survive in saltwater and cannot infect a person who drinks contaminated water.
In the event of brain infection, the amoeba causes illness up to nine days after exposure. Symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, confusion, seizures, loss of balance and hallucination. Death usually follows within five days. The fatality rate, according to the CDC, is more than 97%.