OMAHA, Neb. — On Friday, federal health authorities verified that a child from Nebraska who had just been swimming in a river close to Omaha had contracted a rare infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba, which ultimately led to the boy’s death.
According to the Douglas County Department of Health in Omaha, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of the amoeba naegleria fowleri in the child.
The child is believed to have been infected while swimming in the Elkhorn River west of Omaha on Sunday. Authorities have not disclosed the identity of the child.
People are often infected by swallowing water containing the amoeba when swimming or diving in lakes and rivers. Other sources have been recorded, such as contaminated tap water in a city near Houston in the year 2020.
It is the second fatality in the Midwest this summer due to primary amebic meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by amoebas that has been deadly in 97% of known instances.
An individual from Missouri died of the infection in July after swimming at the Lake of Three Fires in southwest Iowa, according to health authorities.
Infection symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, or vomiting, followed by a stiff neck, imbalance, hallucinations, and seizures.