Hunter Boutain, a 14-year-old boy, died after contracting a brain-eating amoeba while taking a swim in a lake from central Minnesota. The boy died in a Minneapolis hospital, a few days after he was exposed to the killer amoeba.
One of the boy’s family members stated that his condition got worse and the doctors declared him brain dead yesterday morning. The boy had been treated at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital until his death. His uncle said the boy died surrounded by all his family members.
This is the third reported death caused by a brain-eating amoeba in Minnesota since 2010. The deadly bacteria is known as Naegleria fowleri and all the victims contracted it while swimming in freshwater lakes. According to the reports, all three victims were children.
Experts say the infection caused by the deadly amoeba is very rare and since 1962 there have been reported 130 deaths in the United States. However, health officials advise people to be cautious when they go swimming: they should keep their head out of the water or use nose clips to plug their nostrils.
The 14-year-old boy who died recently had been swimming earlier this week in Lake Minnewaska, near Alexandria and Glenwood. The lake is known as a popular recreational lake among the local people.
Hunter Boutain had just completed eighth grade and was part of the school jazz orchestra at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria.
Chad LaMeyer, whose 11-year-old daughter died of a similar brain infection, created an advocacy organization called Swim Above Water. He said that it’s shocking for everyone to see a family member’s health deteriorate so rapidly. His own daughter was swimming healthily one day in a lake in Stacy, Minnesota, and a few days later she died. Although the doctors were unable to confirm that it was a case of the brain-eating amoeba that killed the little girl, the symptoms of her condition were similar to those of two other children who died in 2010 and 2012 after they were exposed to a deadly parasitic infection after swimming in Lily Lake in Stillwater.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began analyzing the Lily Lake and nine other lakes from Washington County and found that six of them were infected with the deadly amoeba in 2010. However, in 2013 and 2014 the researchers did not find anything in the water samples.
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