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Boy, 13, dies after catching brain-eating bug on camping trip

6 days ago 6

A healthy teen died after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba when he went swimming in a lake with friends.

Tanner Lake Wall, 13, was on holiday with his friends and family at a campground in North Florida, US, when he got sick.

Tanner became ill after two days of swimming, and died on August 2, The Sun reports.

Dad Travis Wall said the teenager had been experiencing “nausea, vomiting, pretty bad headaches” in the lead-up to his death. He also had a stiff neck.

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Tanner Wall was diagnosed with a strep throat at a local medical centre, but his parents sought a second opinion.

“I said, ‘You know what? Unhook him. Do whatever you need to do. We will transport him ourselves. I’m standing at the front door. Come outside. We will take him where we have to go,’” Travis Wall told News4Jax.

At the second medical facility, doctors put Tanner on a ventilator and diagnosed him with a far more serious condition.

“They said, ‘We’re sorry to tell you this, but your son does not have bacterial meningitis. He has a parasitic amoeba, and there is no cure,’” the father said.

The teenager’s parents took him off life support after his brain showed no activity.

“He was very active. He loved the outdoors. He loved hunting, fishing,” his mother Alicia Whitehill said.

In a statement to the TV station, Putnam Community Medical Centre which first treated Tanner said that attending doctors advised the family that further assessments were required but that the recommendations were declined and the family left before a diagnosis could be made.

“The passing of a loved one is tragic and our condolences are with the family,” the statement read.

Tanner’s parents are now advising the public to be aware that the brain-eating amoeba that took Tanner’s life, naegleria fowleri, can be present in bodies of water from July to late September in the US.

Mr Wall said: “Maybe they weren’t thinking about it, because I can sure tell you we weren’t.”

Rare cases of the brain-eating amoeba have been recorded in South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, a post on NSW Health states.

However cases in Australia have been associated with exposure to untreated private water supplies (bore water and a farm dam).

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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