Officials say baby likely dies of brain-eating amoeba by contracting a Texas SplashPad

Texan kid who died after contracting a rare brain-eating amoeba likely infected at local splash board, Arlington announce In a press release on Monday. The city said records from the Don Misenhimer Garden spray pad showed that staff did not consistently monitor water quality levels at the time the child visited the park.

On September 5, local health officials were notified that a baby hospitalized at Cook Children’s Medical Center had “primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a rare and often fatal infection caused by Naegleria fowleri amoeba,” the press release said.

The child died in a hospital on 11 September. His name has not yet been announced.

The Tarrant County Public Health Authority said the child was likely exposed to water containing Naegleria fowleri ameoba either at the family home or in the sprinkler garden. On Friday, the CDC confirmed the presence of active Naegleria fowleri amoeba in water samples from the spray pad and from the system supplying the area with water taken between September 10 and September 14, leading officials to conclude that the child was likely exposed. over there.

When examining park records, city officials found that employees did not document water quality readings on two of the three days the child visited the sprinkler board in late August and early September, the statement said. Levels of chlorine, a chemical used to disinfect water in the pillow, were within the state’s requirements two days before the child’s last visit, but a reading the day after the visit showed levels had fallen below requirements, according to the statement. Garden records show that chlorine was added to the water system at that time.

amoebic meningoencephalitis
Using the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining technique, this micrograph depicts the histopathological features associated with a case of amoebic meningoencephalitis due to the parasite Naegleria fowleri.

Getty Images

The spray pad has been closed since officials were notified that the baby was hospitalized, and the investigation is ongoing. The statement said city officials are reviewing “spray equipment and supplies, maintenance, water quality checks, procedures and training to ensure safe recreational spaces for residents and visitors.”

All of Arlington’s sprinkler pads passed their annual inspection at the beginning of summer. However, records from Don Meissenheimer Park and another Arlington park showed that employees “did not consistently record, or in some cases did not conduct, required water quality tests before facilities opened each day,” including chlorine checks and a press release said.

The city investigation also found that in certain cases when chlorine level readings were below minimum requirements, employees did not record how much chlorine they manually added to the water system. The press release stated that “the records also did not include a follow-up reading to ensure that water chlorination levels were at acceptable levels after treatment.”

“We’ve identified gaps in our daily inspection program,” Deputy City Manager Lemuel Randolph said. “These vulnerabilities have resulted in our maintenance standards not being met for our splash pads. All water mist pads will remain closed until we make sure our systems are operating as they should, and we have confirmed maintenance protocol compliant with city, county and state standards.”

City officials said the risk of amoeba infection is “extremely low,” noting that the CDC says only 34 cases of infection were reported between 2010 and 2019.

“N. fowleri infects people when water containing amoeba enters the body through the nose. This usually occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm, fresh water places, such as lakes and rivers. In very rare cases, the amoeba has been identified in other sources Such as unchlorinated swimming pool water or hot and contaminated tap water.”

Arlington officials said the city’s drinking water was not affected.


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