Boy killed by brain-eating amoeba found at splash pad

City of Arlington admits there was lapse in water quality testing at some parks

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 28 September 2021 23:49
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Boy’s death linked to contaminated water at Arlington park

A boy died from a rare brain-eating amoeba that was found at a Texas splash pad.

Authorities say that the youngster was hospitalised in Arlington on 5 September with with primary amebic meningoencephalitis and died six days later.

Health officials closed all of the city’s public splash pads and say that there was a lapse in water quality testing at some of them.

The boy, whose age and identity have not been made public, had visited the splash pad at Don Misenhimer Park several times in recent weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it confirmed  the presence of the amoeba, N. fowleri,  in water samples from the park.

“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.”

The city admitted that Parks and Recreation employees had not consistently recorded, or simply did not conduct daily water quality tests for chlorine levels that kills off the amoeba.

Experts say that the amoeba enters the nasal cavity and travels into the brain where it destroys the tissue of the frontal lobe.

Symptoms of infection can include fever, headaches, stiff neck, seizures and hallucinations, that start within five to nine days of infection.

Death from the rare infection occurs within another five days, according to the CDC.

Officials say that there were only 34 reported cases of N. fowleri infections in the United States between 2010 and 2019.

“This has been limited to a specific splash pad here in Arlington. We have shut down in the abundance of caution all splash pads in Arlington until we can continue and complete our review into what was done wrong, what was done poorly, and what could be done better,” said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross.

The city says its drinking water supply has not been infected by the situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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