COLUMBIA -- Health officials say a Sumter County boy has died from a rare brain infection caused by an organism that lives in warm, fresh water.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control said Wednesday the boy was killed by an amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri (neh-GLARE-ee-ah FOW-luhr-eye). The organism lives in lakes, rivers and hot springs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there were only 32 documented cases of this kind of infection between 2001 and 2010. DHEC did not release the boy’s name.
An agency epidemiologist says the amoeba typically enters the body through water forced up someone’s nose. Officials say the infection cannot be caused by drinking.
DHEC advises people not to swim in fresh water when water levels are low.