A second child has died from a rare brain infection after swimming in a Minnesota lake, and health officials say the deaths were likely caused by a parasitic amoeba in the water.
Jack Ariola-Erenberg, 9, died Tuesday after experiencing flu-like symptoms for two days. He had been swimming at Lily Lake in Stillwater, Minn. — the same lake where a 7-year-old girl swam before she died two years ago.
“No one should die that soon,” said Jack’s uncle, Matt Ariola. “No parent should ever have to bury their child. It’s a sad, sad deal.”
The 36-acre lake has been closed since Jack’s death — blocked off with “Danger” and “Stay out of the water” signs — and won’t reopen for the rest of the season.
The family of Annie Bahneman, who died in the summer of 2010, says they think the young girl was exposed to the amoeba when she was practicing handstands in the water.
“Water gets forced up the nose with the amoeba and actually crawls up your olfactory nerve into your brain,” said Dr. Richard Danila of the Minnesota Department of Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet confirmed that Jack’s death was caused by an amoeba.
Jack’s father, Jim Ariola of Wyoming, Minn., says the lake is a magnet for kids in the summertime, but he never would have let his son swim there had he known about Annie’s death.