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Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Ohio Teen Following Whitewater Rafting Trip

Image: Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Ohio Teen Following Whitewater Rafting Trip
Staff whitewater guides take some of the construction staff on a test run around the course, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006, at the public opening of the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, T. Ortega Gaines)

By    |   Thursday, 23 June 2016 12:30 PM

A brain-eating amoeba killed an Ohio teen on Sunday.

Lauren Seitz, 18, was previously on a church trip in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is thought to have contracted the amoeba on June 8 when riding in a raft that overturned, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Three days after returning from her trip to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, Seitz began to show symptoms of the infection, which can include fever, headache, vomiting, and can progress into seizures and hallucinations.

She died of primary amebic mengioencephalitis caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, CNN reported.

The Whitewater Center issued a release detailing its water treatment practices, which include a "filtration system and ultraviolet radiation treatment system that continuously treats the 12 million gallons of water every 24 hours in addition to supplemental chlorine treatments."

Naegleria fowleri is found around the world, but infections are very rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 2006 and 2015, 37 people were infected, with 33 of those infected by contaminated recreational water and the other four by tap water. The amoeba enters the brain through the nose.

While the source of Seitz's infection cannot be definitely confirmed, Franklin County Public Health spokeswoman Mitzi Kline said, "She travelled to North Carolina and this was her only water exposure during her trip, only water exposure during the incubation time period which is one to nine days," USA Today reported.

Jim Wilson, senior pastor at Church of the Messiah United Methodist Church, said the youth ministry group visited the Whitewater Center for a day of recreation during a trip to sing at churches and nursing homes.

“We will deeply miss her, but we were so blessed by her presence and her gifts that she just shared in a beautiful way,” Wilson said. “She was a special person.”

Twitter users shared concerns in reaction to the report.

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A brain-eating amoeba killed an Ohio teen on Sunday.
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Thursday, 23 June 2016 12:30 PM
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