Family of girl killed from 'brain-eating amoeba' sues Whitewater Center

A lawsuit filed by the family of an Ohio teen who died last year from a rare, brain-eating amoeba alleges officials at the USNWC knowingly failed to properly treat the water.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An Ohio family has filed a lawsuit against the National Whitewater Center one year after their teenage daughter died from a brain-eating amoeba infection after visiting the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte last June.

The lawsuit filed against the National Whitewater Center is for negligence and wrongful death.

18-year-old Lauren Seitz died after contracting the amoeba, and her parents said their daughter did not swim in Columbus during the incubation period; she did, however, come to Charlotte for a trip and visited the Whitewater Center.

She was visiting the Whitewater Center with her church's youth music ministry group. 

NBC Charlotte broke the story during the 11 p.m. newscast on last summer.

According to the suit, the family alleges the Whitewater Center, "Negligently breached its duty of care owed to Lauren."

Seitz was in Charlotte from Ohio with a youth group.  One of the stops was the Whitewater Center, where the teams went rafting. The raft the girl was riding in capsized and it is possible that the brain eating amoeba may have traveled up her nose giving her an extremely rare yet fatal infection.

The CDC is tested the water at the Whitewater Center and determined the amoeba was present in the water at the time of Seitz's visit.

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NBC Charlotte has learned that the Whitewater Center does do some treating and testing of its water.  It may not be to the level of a swimming pool, but certainly a lot more than any lake or river would receive. 

The suspected cause of death was attributed to Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, a one-celled organism that does not cause illness if swallowed, but can be fatal if forced up the nose. 

Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, officials said. According to the CDC, fewer than 10 cases have been reported annually in the United State during the last 53 years. This amoeba can cause severe illness up to nine days after exposure. A person cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water and the amoeba is not found in salt water.

In warmer areas where this infection has been more common, recommended precautions include:

• Limit the amount of water going up your nose. Hold your nose shut, use nose clips, or keep your head above water when taking part in warm freshwater-related activities.

• Avoid water-related activities in warm fresh water during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.

• Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm fresh water areas.

 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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