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Rare deadly amoeba in warm fresh water

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Kansas City - Health officials are warning of a rare brain-eating amoeba lurking in warm freshwater.

The deadly parasite's latest victim is nine-year-old Hally Nicole Yust of Kansas.


Investigators suspect she picked up the amoeba while water-skiing over the Fourth of July weekend.

Kansas authorities are warning people about swimming in fresh water lakes and ponds.

All because of a brain-eating amoeba, that health officials say, took the life of nine-year-old, Hally Yust last week.

She was an avid water skier - and over the last few weeks, was in four different bodies of freshwater.

It's called Naegleria Fowleri, it lives in warm, standing water…and even though the amoeba is rare, it can enter through the nose while in the water. It can cause a severe headache, fever, nausea and vomiting…and in most cases, death.

Dr. William Schaffner/ Vanderbilt U. Medical Center, Vanderbilt University: "The amoeba finds itself way back in our noses and then can work its way into our central nervous system, around our brains, and once it's there it just causes destruction."

Last summer, a 12-year old Florida boy named Zachary Reyna, contracted the infection after he went knee boarding in fresh water near his home.  He later died.

And a year ago, Kali Hardig, a 12-year-old girl from little rock, Arkansas, went for a swim and was infected by the parasite.

Although her prognosis was poor, she survived.  

She was one of the lucky ones. Over the past 50 years, there have been just over 130 reported cases of Naegleri Fowleri infections.

Only three of those people, including Kali, have survived.  

Medical experts say you can take steps to decrease your risk of catching the amoeba.

They advise not swimming in warm freshwater and if you do, don't put your head under the water use nose clips and don't stir up sediment.