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Man Dies from ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’ After Swimming at Water Park

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A man has died after being infected by a rare brain-eating amoeba while swimming at a manmade family water park.

Laboratory testing confirmed the man, identified by local media as Eddie Gray, was sickened by Naegleria fowleri after swimming at Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County.

Naegleria Fowleri - Brain Eating Amoeba
Naegleria Fowleri - Brain Eating Amoeba (Credit: katerynakon/Depositphotos)

The North Carolina Department of Health has stated infections like Gray’s are rare but typically occur when it’s hot for prolonged periods of time, according to the press release. 

Symptoms of Naegleria fowleri include severe headache, fever, nausea and vomiting which then progresses into a stiff neck, seizures and coma.

"Our sympathies are with the family and loved ones.People should be aware that this organism is present in warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs across North Carolina, so be mindful as you swim or enjoy water sports."

State Epidemiologist Zack Moore
water park
Fantasy Lake Waterpark - North Carolina

Officials say that people should use caution when using areas where the infection is more common. Always plug your nose, use a nose clip and avoid kicking up sediment in shallow areas. 

Though frightening and possibly fatal, infections are rare with only 145 known infected individuals in the U.S. from 1962 through 2018.

beware of swimming in low water and hot temp

 According to state health officials in North Carolina, the amoeba is harmless when swallowed but swimmers should always take precaution to prevent water from going up their nose.

"This amoeba can cause severe illness up to nine days after exposure. A person cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking water and the amoeba is not found in salt water."

The North Carolina Department of Health

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