Virginia boy dies from amoeba infection

Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:18 PM

RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Health authorities in Virginia say they may never know from which body of water a 9-year-old boy contracted a fatal case of an amoeba infection.

"In all likelihood, we're never going to pinpoint exactly where this amoeba was acquired," said Dr. Keri Hall, the state epidemiologist, after her department received results from an autopsy Friday that confirmed the cause of death as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

Hall did not identify the child, but family members said he was Christian Alexander Strickland of Henrico County. He died of the infection caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which can enter the body through the nose and travel to the brain, causing inflammation of the brain and its lining.

The amoeba lives in freshwater bodies around the world.

Amber Strickland, said her son attended a fishing camp run by the Richmond-based Virginia Fishing Adventures the week before he died.

Tee Clarkson, who has run the camp for seven years, said he was saddened by Christian's death.

"We feel horrible about this," he said. "It's a tragic event."

He said it's impossible to know exactly where Christian contracted the amoeba or even if it happened on the fishing trip.

A 16-year-old girl died in Florida last week of an infection officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed was the same deadly amoeba that killed the Virginia victim.

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