Unusually high levels of a brain-eating amoeba were found at a North Carolina water park where an Ohio teen became infected and later died, an investigation found.
All 11 samples taken from the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte tested positive for Naegleria fowleri, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week at a press conference.
Four samples taken from the nearby Catawba River tested negative for the pathogen while a sample taken from the riverbed tested positive.
“Our findings here are significant,” Dr. Jennifer Cope, an infectious disease physician at the CDC, told CNN. “We saw multiple positive samples at levels we’ve not previously seen in environmental samples.”
The presence of the deadly amoeba is likely due to a failure in the park’s water sanitation system, which wasn’t designed to target it, Cope said.