A Texas boy has tragically died from a brain-eating amoeba that he presumably contracted from an outdoor water attraction, according to an Arlington press release.
The child, about whom details remain disclosed to protect his identity, was hospitalized with the rare condition, officially known as the Naegleria fowleri ameba, in early September. The boy sadly succumbed to the parasite and died at the hospital just six days later. The condition is extremely uncommon, with only 34 reported infections in the U.S. between 2010 and 2019, the CDC reports.
County health officials tested water in two locations upon learning the boy had contracted the brain-eating amoeba — at his home and at a nearby recreational splash pad. Since, the CDC has confirmed that Naegleria fowleri was found in the water in the splash pad, which child had played in prior to his infection. It has assumed this was the source of his exposure, as one can only be infected if infected water goes up their nose (as opposed to drinking it).
The city of Arlington has since shut down all splash pads for the remainder of the year “out of an abundance of caution,” and plans to improve their recreational spaces’ safety for residents and visitors moving forward.
“We have identified gaps in our daily inspection program,” Deputy City Manager Lemuel Randolph said. “Those gaps resulted in us not meeting our maintenance standards at our splash pads. All of the splash pads will remain closed until we have assurance that our systems are operating as they should, and we have confirmed a maintenance protocol consistent with city, county and state standards.”