A boy died from a brain-eating amoeba he picked up while playing at a Texas splash pad, authorities said.
Health officials determined the unidentified child “likely” contracted Naegleria fowleri during a visit to Don Misenhimer Park in Arlington, prompting the city to close all public splash pads for the rest of the year, officials said.
Deputy City Manager Lemuel Randolph said “gaps” in water inspection systems were identified as part of a probe into the child’s illness.
“Those gaps resulted in us not meeting our maintenance standards at our splash pads,” Randolph said in a statement.
“All of the splash pads will remain closed until we have assurance that our systems are operating as they should, and we have confirmed a maintenance protocol consistent with city, county and state standard.”
The kid was hospitalized Sept. 5 with a rare infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis and died on Sept. 11, the city of Arlington said in a news release. He had visited the park three times in late August and early September, the release stated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of the amoeba at the splash pad and determined it was likely the source of the child’s exposure, the city stated.
Records from city splash pads, including Don Misenhimer, showed that Parks and Recreation employees didn’t record or conduct required daily water quality tests, according to the release.
Inspection logs reportedly found that chlorine levels weren’t documented at the splash pad on two of the three days the child visited there.
There were only 34 reported infections of this kind between 2010-19, the city said, citing CDC data. It usually enters people’s body through the nose while they are swimming in untreated freshwater, the release stated.