In a unexpected development today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that based on laboratory analysis, 14-year-old Hunter Boutain, died from streptococcal meningoencephalitis last month.
It was reported last month that Boutain likely died from suspected Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by the “Brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri.
The Minnesota Department of Health, on July 7, announced a suspected PAM case based on initial clinical findings reported by the child’s health care team, including preliminary laboratory testing from the health care facility and based on recent swimming exposure. As a standard confirmation step, testing was conducted at CDC to verify that initial finding. In this case, the laboratory testing did not corroborate the initial finding.
Minnesota health officials note the laboratory results help bring clarity to the situation, but do not lessen the tragic nature of this case. The results also do not change the fact that there is always a very low-level risk of infection with Naegleria fowleri when swimming in fresh water.