The father of a girl who passed away from a brain-eating amoeba is suing the US National Whitewater Centre for $1 million in punitive damages.

The girl, Lauren Seitz, joined her Westville youth music ministry group on an eight-day white water rafting trip in North Carolina after graduating high school. It was at the US National Whitewater Centre, which features a man-made white water river ride that Lauren contracted the deadly infection.

Days after her trip, Lauren developed a splitting headache and was admitted to the hospital. Doctors suspected that she had meningitis, but she passed away soon after. Officials for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that she had contracted a brain-eating amoeba.

Now a year after her death, her father has filed the lawsuit. The amoeba, known as Naegleria fowler, can reside in poorly maintained swimming pools and enters the body through the nose. The amoeba is also found in warm freshwater and can grow in pipes. It is never found in salt water.

Only 140 people have been infected with it in the US from 1962 to 2016, and four have passed away from it.

After Lauren’s case, the US National Whitewater Centre has temporarily closed its white water facilities, to ‘scrub and kill any vestiges of the amoeba’.

The water samples taken from the centre tested positive for the amoeba, said the Centre for Disease Control.

“We saw multiple positive samples at levels we’ve not previously seen in environmental samples. The amoeba was probably able to grow to such concentrations because of the amount of dirt and debris in the water,” said Dr Jennifer Cope of the CDC.

The lawsuit against the centre says that it showed a a conscious disregard for the safety of its visitors, including Lauren.”

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Picture Credit: NDTV