MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C., July 15 (UPI) — A 10-year-old South Carolina girl died after contracting a rare amoebic infection while swimming in a lake, her father said.
Liza Hollingsworth, of Mount Pleasant, was buried over the weekend after becoming infected with amoebic meningoencephalitis, the Charleston Post and Courier reported Thursday.
Hollingsworth went swimming either in Lake Moultrie or in another smaller lake near her home, and got a noseful of water. Several days later, she came down with a headache, and three days after that, she died. By the time it was known she was sick, it was too late, the Post and Courier said.
A swarm of amoebas attacked her central nervous system, causing the fatal illness, the newspaper said.
While the amoeba isn’t rare — it’s found in the South in stagnant, shallow fresh water — the infection is not common. Inhaling water through the nose appears to be the usual link in infections, the newspaper reported.
“The warmer the water, the more likely you are to find it,” said Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There are no real precautions that can be taken, other than to avoid fresh water,” said Kathryn Arden, S.C. Health and Environmental Control regional medical director.
“We’ve made a commitment to figure out ways to help prevent cases,” Yoder said.
Guidelines could come within two years, the Post and Courier said.
“It’s a horrific experience I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through,” said Dunn Hollingsworth, the child’s father.
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