Published November 20, 2014
A 10-year-old girl died of an infection just days after taking a freshwater swim in South Carolina, TheSunNews.com reported Thursday.
Liza Hollingsworth, an honor student from Charleston, developed a headache after getting a nose full of water while swimming.
No one knows whether Liza went swimming in an area lake or pond, but they do know that the freshwater dip led to the infection that killed her. A tiny group of amoebas, commonly found in freshwater throughout the south, had entered Liza’s central nervous system through her nose causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. Three days later, she died.
"The warmer the water, the more likely you are to find it," Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
Though they are commonly found, amoebas rarely cause infection. Since 1962, only 111 cases of amoebic infections have been reported in the U.S., according to the CDC.
"There are no real precautions that can be taken, other than to avoid freshwater," Kathryn Arden, regional medical director for S.C. Health and Environmental Control said.
In an effort to reduce the risk of infection, the CDC is seeking science-based recommendations.