August 10, 2015
MDH Statement: Laboratory testing rules out ameba as cause of illness in child
CDC testing confirmed Hunter Boutain had case of streptococcal meningoencephalitis
Laboratory testing conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently determined that a Minnesota child, Hunter Boutain, did not die from suspected Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) as reported in early July, but instead from streptococcal meningoencephalitis.
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.
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. For more information about that risk, please visit the MDH website at Naegleria and Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis.