Rare, dangerous amoeba found in Minnesota lake

Brian Edwards

A young boy is in critical condition after swimming in Lake Minnewaska, according to the Pioneer Press.


Hunter Boutain, of Alexandria, Minn., was swimming in the lake when he got the infection, reports the Star Tribune.


The parasite is traditionally found in warmer lakes in the U.S., but three different cases have been confirmed in Minnesota since 2010, according to the Star Tribune.


Experts were surprised to find that Lake Minnewaska had the parasite, because it doesn’t have the usual characteristics of a lake with the amoeba, reports Minnesota Public Radio News.


"It is not what we think of as typical because the risk is greater when water temperatures are higher and water levels are lower," said Trisha Robinson, waterborne diseases unit supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health. "And we haven't experienced that big heat wave yet in Minnesota."


Swim Above Water is a Minnesota advocacy group that is attempting to inform swimmers about the risks associated with Minnesota’s lakes, reports MPR.


The group was started by Heidi LaMeyer and her husband, according to MPR. They started the group after their daughter died in 2008 from an unexplained brain infection.


LaMeyer said to MPR that the group had taken a break because of low interest and lack of cases, but they plan on starting up again after this new case.