Lawsuit filed against Whitewater Center after teen contracted deadly brain-eating amoeba

29 June, 2017, 18:50 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Whitewater Park

CNN reported that the lawsuit filed by the teen's family names the North Carolina water park, U.S. National Whitewater Center, and the company that built it, Recreation Engineering and Planning Inc., alleging that both should be held accountable for Seitz' death.

Seitz returned to OH where she became ill where physicians diagnosed her with an amoeba infection. At a local hospital, doctors diagnosed Seitz with having been exposed to Naegleria fowleri and getting a brain infection from it. Seitz returned from the trip on June 11, and she passed away on June 19. The co-defendant named in the suit, Recreation Engineering and Planning, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Whitewater Center attracts more than 800,000 visits a year and has total revenue exceeding $18 million annually.

One year after a teenager died over a deadly amoeba, Lauren Seitz's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the waterpark. The water park in North Carolina is located approximately "15 miles west of Charlotte".

A park employee wrote to a county commissioner to complain that the water quality had grown so poor that raft guides routinely suffered from staph infections, ringworm and other skin illnesses. In this photo, Scott Shipley paddles down the rapids with a camera rig attached to the front of his kayak during the Slalom Kayaking Championships at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Aug. 24, 2006. According to CBS News, the center's website said at the time that "the fast-water channels would be drained, dried and scrubbed to kill any vestiges of the amoeba".

"They like to grow in water", said Dr. Christine Alexander, Chair of Family Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center. It then makes its way to the brain and consumes the blood cells and brain tissue, causing the brain to swell. Symptoms associated with an amoeba infection include vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, and headaches.

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Water tests conducted soon after Seitz's death confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri.

"Our findings here are significant", Dr Jennifer Cope, an infectious disease physician at the CDC, said.

After Seitz's death, the water park closed down to work with officials.

Dr Cope added the amoeba was likely able to grow to such concentrations due to the amount of dirt and debris in the water.

"Lauren and other visitors had a higher likelihood of encountering Naegleria fowleri in the unregulated waters of the U.S. National Whitewater Center than they did by simply rafting in the nearby Catawba River", the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit claims that the water park disregarded "the safety of its visitors, including Lauren". After a federal epidemiologist found the inbuilt filtration and disinfection system of the water park was inept in properly cleaning the facility's waters, the park had changed its filtration system.

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