Whitewater Center shuts down after teenage girl dies from amoeba


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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. National Whitewater Center has temporarily shut down whitewater activities after a teenage girl died after contracting an amoeba.

The Whitewater Center posted the following statement on their web page Friday afternoon:

“The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC), after discussion with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health officials, has decided to temporarily suspend all whitewater activities effective immediately. This decision was made by the Whitewater Center after initial test results found Naegleria fowleri DNA was present in the whitewater system. The USNWC is working with the CDC and local health officials to develop next steps. Only whitewater activities are suspended. The USNWC remains open for all other operations and activities.”

An Ohio teenager died Sunday after contracting the rare brain-attacking amoeba after visiting the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte.

WCMH in Ohio reported the victim in an 18-year-old girl from Westerville, Ohio, who was on a church trip.

Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. According to the CDC, fewer than 10 cases have been reported annually in the United States during the last 53 years. This amoeba can cause severe illness up to nine days after exposure. Of 133 people known to be infected in the U.S. since 1962, only three people survived.

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