A Brooklyn College student has died after contracting a rare brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a creek during a family vacation.
Kerry Stoutenburgh, 19, of Kingston, NY, is believed to have contracted the deadly infection after jumping off a bridge into a warm body of water in Cecil County in Maryland last month.
Health officials said Stoutenburgh swam in the Conowingo Creek and Gilpins Falls, and it is believed that she came in contact with the parasite then, The Daily Freeman of Kingston reported.
The disease she became infected with, primary amebic meningoencephalitis, is caused by the brain parasite known as Naegleria fowleri, which is commonly found in warm freshwater rivers and hot springs or burrowed in soil. She died Aug. 31.
The amoeba usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Kerry was a beautiful soul both inside and out. She was taken from this world way too soon, but her memories will stay with us forever,” read a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of Stoutenburgh’s family.
“Kerry dreamed of one day becoming a film director and was influenced by her favorite directors, Quentin Tarantino and David Fincher. Her favorite movies were the Lord of the Rings trilogy,” the posting added.