A 14-year-old boy who contracted a brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a lake in Minnesota has died of the rare infection.
Hunter Boutain, of Alexandria, Minnesota, was declared dead on Thursday at University of Minnesota Medical Center, relatives said.
According to a statement released by the teen’s uncle, Bryan Boutain, Hunter’s condition gradually worsened overnight and he was declared brain dead on Thursday morning. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Hunter Boutain (left and right) has succumbed to a rare brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which is caused by an amoeba.
Bryan Boutain said:
Hunter died surrounded by his family. It is a deeply emotional time for all us. We ask for privacy and prayers as we remember our beloved Hunter.
According to the Minnesota Health Department, Hunter contracted a rare brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, during a swim in Lake Minnewaska in Pope County.
The disease is caused by Naegleria fowleri — an amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater lakes.
2. Boutain contracted PAM after swimming in Minnewaska Lake in Pope County (pictured; photo: Wikimedia.)
A swimmer can contract the infection if he or she inhales contaminated water through the nose. The infection can often be lethal, however it cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
The authorities briefly closed the beaches on the lake on Tuesday night, but they have since reopened, according to Echo Press.
Symptoms of the illness include headache, fever, vomiting and stiff neck and appear about five days after exposure.
3. Hunter passed away surrounded by his family on Thursday after worsening overnight.
As PAM progresses, patients often become confused, suffer seizures and hallucinations. Most cases end within five days with the patient’s death.
Bryan Boutain wrote on Wednesday that his nephew was unresponsive and breathing with the help of a respirator, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He wrote at the time:
We are praying for a miracle for this rascal.
4. The rare brain infection PAM is caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (pictured), which is commonly found in warm freshwater lakes (photo: Wikimedia).
According to experts, to reduce the risk of contracting PAM, freshwater swimmers should keep their head above water and use nose clips, as well as avoid kicking up sediment.
In all, between 2001 and 2011, 40 cases of PAM have been reported in the U.S., two of which were in Minnesota.
In 2010, a 7-year-old girl died from the infection after swimming in Lily Lake. Then in 2012, a 9-year-old boy died from the illness after contracting the brain-eating amoeba in the same lake.
5. A teen dies from a rare brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a lake — an ABC News report.
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