A Texas resident has died from an illness caused by an amebic meningitis infection after swimming at a lake, health officials said Wednesday.
The unnamed Travis County resident developed the infection after swimming in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) this month, Austin Public Health said.
“Although these infections are very rare, this is an important reminder that there are microbes present in natural bodies of water that can pose risks of infection,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “Increased temperatures over the summer make it ideal for harmful microorganisms to grow and flourish.”
A sample of the water from the lake has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Austin Public Health said swimming in natural bodies of water comes with several risks, including amebic infections.
Amebic meningitis can occur if water is forced up the nose, such as when jumping into water, water-skiing, and other water activities.
It doesn’t occur when water is swallowed or in salt water and chlorinated pools.
Amebic meningoencephalitis infections are rare, with only 39 people having been infected in Texas between 1962 and 2022.