Lake safety questioned after girl dies from brain-eating amoeba - KCTV5

Lake safety questioned after girl dies from brain-eating amoeba

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Hally "Bug" Nicole Yust passed away Wednesday. She lives in Spring Hill, right by Hillsdale Lake and she loved all things water-related. Hally "Bug" Nicole Yust passed away Wednesday. She lives in Spring Hill, right by Hillsdale Lake and she loved all things water-related.
MIAMI COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

Parents have been questioning just how safe Kansas lakes are after a 9-year-old girl died from a rare bacterial infection that she may have gotten from a local lake.

The family of Hally "Bug" Nicole Yust is enduring unimaginable pain. The Spring Hill girl will be laid to rest at the beginning of next week.

Hally died Wednesday from a "brain-eating amoeba" after swimming in several different bodies of water over the last seven to 14 days.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment determined that she died from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by Naegleria fowleri.

Naegleria fowleri is commonly referred to as the "brain-eating amoeba" or "brain-eating ameba" and is a free-living amoeba found in freshwater.

Parents and swimmers are still a little wary about the girl's tragic story, and some took a few extra precautions Saturday while out on the lake.

Kay Hansen and her family come to Hillsdale Lake from Olathe to enjoy the hot summer sun and splash in the refreshing water on the lake.

"We just wanted to have family time and get the jet ski out. We brought our grandson out for the first time ever and let him enjoy the lake. So, this is one of our favorite family pastimes," Hansen said.

But hearing about the potential risk for a deadly amoeba makes Hansen a little wary, especially with her young grandson.

"We just made sure we listened to what the precautions were and made sure we talked to the kids about it. We made sure we went over it many times not to let water get up in their nose," Hansen said.

That is probably the right attitude says trooper Mark Nepote with the Kansas Highway Patrol.

"We don't want people to be fearful of the lake and the water and continue to come out and support us and have fun on the lake. There is no reason to be fearful of that," Nepote said.

And Hansen says a cautious day on the water is better than staying home.

"Life is too short. This is something our family loves to do. So, we will continue to do it, but we will just be careful," Hansen said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another good tip is to avoid stirring up a lot of sediment in shallow, warm water.

Officials have not determined exactly where Hally contracted the infection. She apparently had been swimming in several area lakes. As an avid water skier, it's likely that Hally got the infection when lake water got up her nose.

This is the second known case of PAM caused by Naegleria fowleri in Kansas. The first case occurred in 2011.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Hally "Bug" Yust K-State Women's Basketball Scholarship, Ahearn Fund, 1800 College Ave., suite 138, Manhattan, KS 66502.

More personal contributions of balloons or stuffed animals will be donated to Children's Mercy Hospital. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com.

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