A child died this week from an infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba in a Nebraska river.
The Douglas County Health Department said Thursday that the child died from a suspected infection of Naegleria Fowleri. Health officials said that the organism is responsible for Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM).
The child was said to be swimming in the Elkhorn River mid-August when infected by the amoeba.
"We can only imagine the devastation this family must be feeling, and our deepest condolences are with them. We can honor the memory of this child by becoming educated about the risk and then taking steps to prevent infection," Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said in a press release.
Health officials said that people are infected when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose, usually while swimming or diving, and causes a brain infection.
The Center for Disease Control says that Naegleria fowleri lives in soil and warm fresh water, such as lakes, rivers, and hot springs. You can reduce your risk by plugging your nose, not submerging your head, and avoiding water entering your nose.
Only about three people in the United States get infected each year, but these infections are usually fatal, the CDC says.