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Amoeba did not kill Minnesota teen, lab report says

Hunter Boutain, 14, died just two days after swimming in a Minnesota lake.

CBS News

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Health officials say lab tests have determined that a Minnesota teenager did not die from a water parasite as initially suspected, but instead from a bacterial disease.

Fourteen-year-old Hunter Boutain, of Alexandria, died of a brain infection July 9. He became ill after swimming in Lake Minnewaska in western Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Health initially suspected his infection was the result of the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, often referred to as brain-eating amoeba. But the department said Monday that tests by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined Hunter died from a streptococcal bacterial infection of the brain instead.

The department says the results help bring clarity to the situation but don't lessen the tragedy of Hunter's death.

While the amoeba is common and can be found in freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs, the risks of infection from it are low. It can be fatal if it infects the brain after water is inhaled through the nose.

Between 1962 and 2014, the CDC says there were 133 known cases in the U.S., and only 3 patients survived.