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One person dies in Arkansas due to brain-eating amoeba, officials say

The Arkansas Department on Health announced that a person has died from a rare infection which targets the brain tissue commonly known as a brain-eating amoeba.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Department on Health (ADH) announced on Thursday that an Arkansan has died from a rare infection, which targets the brain tissue. 

According to ADH, the resident died from Naegleria fowleri,  which causes brain swelling and can be deadly as it destroys brain tissue.

Following an investigation by ADH, which included testing and inspection, it was determined that the person was likely exposed to the infection at the Country Club of Little Rock splash pad. 

The health department said that it sent multiple samples from the splash pad and pool to the CDC. 

Following the submission of the sample, the CDC confirmed that one of the splash pad samples had "viable Naegleria fowleri."  The remaining samples are still pending, according to ADH.

ADH said that its been in contact with the Country Club of Little Rock and that there's no ongoing risk to the public due to the exposure. 

The department shared that Naegleria fowleri cannot be spread from person to person, nor can it infect people through swallowing.

The brain-eating amoeba lives in soil and warm freshwater, but can also be found in pools and splash pads that aren't maintained properly.

According to ADH, the last case of Naegleria fowleri  in Arkansas was 2013. The department also shared that the infection usually impacts only 3 Americans per year, but that the cases are typically fatal. 

ADH said that the Country Club of Little Rock has since closed its pool and splash pad and that both remain closed at the time. 

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