Boy Dies From Rare Brain Disease After Playing In Water Fountains

by : Emily Brown on : 30 Sep 2021 08:16
Boy Dies From Rare Brain Disease After Playing In Water FountainsAlamy

A child in Texas has passed away after contracting a rare brain disease from fountains in a city water attraction. 

The news was announced this week in a joint release from the Tarrant County Public Health and the City of Arlington, which revealed the boy passed away on September 11.


No personal details have been released about the child in order to protect his identity, but officials said he was hospitalised on September 5 with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, an infection caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.

The rare, brain-eating amoeba is commonly found in soil and fresh, warm water such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, as well as in poorly maintained or unchlorinated pools, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

People can become infected with the organism when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose, after which it travels to the brain and destroys brain tissue.


After being alerted of the child’s condition, the county health department determined the exposure to the amoeba to have come from either the family’s home in Tarrant County or the Don Misenhimer Park splash pad in Arlington. Tests later confirmed the presence of active Naegleria fowleri amoeba in water samples from the park.

In response to the results, the city immediately closed the splash pad as well as the other three public splash pads for the remainder of the year. The news release, cited by CNN, confirmed the city’s drinking water was not impacted by the amoeba.

Low chlorine levels are thought to have played a part in the amoeba’s presence at the park, with officials determining employees did not always test the water prior to opening.


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Deputy City Manager Lemuel Randolph has said the splash pads will remain closed until the systems are operating appropriately and a maintenance protocol consistent with city, county and state standards has been confirmed.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News, brain, infection, Texas


  1. CNN

    Child dies after contracting brain-eating amoeba at a Texas splash pad