9-Year-Old Water Skier Dies From Brain-Eating Amoeba

Kansas girl apparently contracted infection in freshwater

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 12, 2014 11:45 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A 9-year-old girl's love of the water ended up sadly dooming her in what her family calls a "one in a billion" occurrence. Hally "Bug" Yust of Spring Hill, Kan., died after contracting an infection commonly known as brain-eating amoeba, reports the Kansas City Star. The infection generally occurs in freshwater during warm weather, and Hally had been skiing on four different bodies of water in recent weeks. The exact source of the infection can't be determined as a result, but the best guess is that water went up her nose while she was skiing, and the amoeba traveled to her brain, reports KCTV5.

State officials says the odds aren't quite one-in-a-billion, but the infection formally known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis is relatively rare: It cites 132 cases in the US from 1962 to 2013, mostly in southern states and nearly always fatal. Citing those long odds, Hally's parents said their daughter loved the water, and "we hope you will not live in fear of this rare infection that took our daughter’s life.” (A young woman in Oregon suffered a life-threatening infection after falling off her bike.)

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