Brain-Eating Amoeba Case Closes Ark. Water Park

Source: Katie Moisse / ABC News

A microscopic parasite has shut down a water park in Little Rock, Ark., where a young swimmer is thought to have contracted a deadly brain infection from a sandy-bottom lake.

The swimmer, whose age and gender have not been released, has been diagnosed with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis — a rare form of meningitis caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

“Though the odds of contracting Naegleria are extremely low, they are just not good enough to allow our friends or family to swim,” said David and Lou Ann Ratliff, owners of Willow Springs Water Park — the “most likely source of infection,” according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Naegleria thrives in warm, standing water. And while it’s usually harmless, it can cause fatal brain swelling if inhaled through the nose.

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