New information available after Whitewater Center tests positive for brain-eating amoeba

Health officials are looking for answers in regards to the source of a brain-eating amoeba discovered at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte.

LATEST: CDC: Whitewater Center filtration systems 'inadequate' to prevent amoeba that killed teen

The center shut down its whitewater activities Friday after water within the system tested positive for the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. On Wednesday it was announced that an 18-year-old Ohio girl died from an infection caused by the amoeba.

U.S. National Whitewater Center tests positive for brain-eating amoeba, officials say

USNWC CEO, Jeffery T. Wise, said the center is continuing to work with health officials and the CDC on this matter.

In a press conference Monday, health officials said that the Whitewater Center does a thorough cleaning once a year during winter months. The center has drained water into the lower pool.

Officials: Ohio teen dies from brain-eating amoeba after visit to Whitewater Center

"We're recommending the Whitewater Center bring in a consultant," said Dr. Marcus Plescia, health director for the Mecklenburg County Health Department. 

Plescia went on to add that there may be a need for some oversight and regulation of USNWC going forward.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory called for total re-examination of facilities like USNWC in how they're regulated compared to swimming pools.

Health officials stressed that while the amoeba itself is fairly common, contracting an infection from the organism is very rare.

Naegleria fowleri is naturally present in warm lakes during the summer and does not cause illness if swallowed, but can be fatal if forced up the nose, according to the CDC.

"Many people are exposed to this potentially but only a few people get infected. I don't think we know what are the predisposing factors. But they think things like diving or sudden splash of water hitting inside of your nose might be risk factors," said Dr. Anupama Neelakanta, an infections specialist with CMC Pineville. 

Fewer than 10 cases have been reported annually in the United States during the last 53 years. Only three people have been known to survive after contracting the amoeba. Two of the three known survivors were treated with the experimental drug called Miltefosine.

Experimental drug used to treat "brain eating" amoeba

Despite the water test, many visitors told FOX46 Charlotte that they were “not worried” about the amoeba results.

"It's more likely that you are going to drown in the water than this amoeba, so it doesn't bother me at all,” said Rob Heim.

U.S. National Whitewater Center visitors not worried about amoeba results

Keep following FOX46 Charlotte for updates on this developing story.

 

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