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Amoeba Not Cause Alexandria Boy’s Death

Amoeba did not cause Alexandria boy’s death, lab tests say

SwimmersLaboratory testing has ruled out an amoeba as the cause of death of Hunter Boutain, a 14-year-old Alexandria boy who doctors originally thought died after contracting a rare condition while swimming in Lake Minnewaska.
The testing conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that Hunter Boutain did not die from suspected primary amoebic meningoencephalitis as reported in early July, but instead from streptococcal meningoencephalitis.
Photo by Pope County Tribune

The Minnesota Department of Health, which made the original information public on July 7, said in announcing the change in cause of death Monday that the suspected case was based on initial clinical findings reported by the child’s health care team, including preliminary laboratory testing from the health care facility and based on recent swimming exposure.

It was thought the Alexandria middle school student got the infection while swimming in Lake Minnewaska.

As a standard confirmation step, testing was conducted at CDC to verify that initial finding.

In this case, the laboratory testing did not corroborate the initial finding, the department said.

The laboratory results help bring clarity to the situation, but do not lessen the tragic nature of this case. The results also do not change the fact that there is always a very low-level risk of infection with Naegleria fowleri when swimming in fresh water. For more information about that risk, please visit the MDH website at Naegleria and Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis.

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