Teen Dies After Exposure to Brain-Eating Amoeba While Rafting
An 18-year-old Ohio girl has died after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba while whitewater rafting in North Carolina.
Lauren Elisabeth Seitz passed away on June 19th, with the cause of the death listed as Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by Naegleria Fowleri. It is believed that Seitz was exposed to the amoeba when her raft overturned at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the amoeba is usually present in warm lakes during summer months and is only harmful if the water is forced up the person's nose. The CDC states that fewer than 10 cases are reported each year for the last half century, with the amoeba causing illness for up to nine days after initial exposure.
Last summer, an Oklahoma resident died after exposure to the same amoeba in Lake Murray. A year before that, officials in Wichita Falls warned residents of the potential of exposure in area lakes especially when water levels are low.
Precautions you can take to avoid infection from the amoeba include:
- 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 fresh water during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
- Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.