A four-year-old boy has died in the US after being infected by a rare brain-eating amoeba while playing on a slip-n-slide.
ABC News reports the Naegleria fowleri micro-organism was found in the hose used to spray the slide.
Naegleria is a free-living single-celled organism, commonly found in warm freshwater and soil around the world.There have been two documented cases of infection with the organism in Queensland in the 10 years up to 2010, according to Queensland Health. There have also been cases in South Australia and Western Australia, but none since 1985.
Naegleria fowleri causes severe infection of the brain and its coverings, and even with treatment, most of those affected will die.
In a press statement about the boy's death, Louisiana State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry said action had been taken to eradicate the parasite from the region's water supply.
"The water is safe to drink and there are basic precautions that families can take -- such as chlorinating their pools and avoiding getting water in their noses -- to protect themselves, though infection from this amoeba is very rare," he said.
In the 10 years from 2001 to 2010, 32 infections were reported in the U.S., according to the CDC. Of those cases, 30 people were infected by contaminated recreational water and two people were infected by water from a geothermal drinking water supply.
The organism is not able to survive in salt water, or in well-chlorinated water supplies. It is also sensitive to heat and cold, with warm water supplies, such as in hot springs, presenting the greatest risk.
The infection cannot be contracted by drinking contaminated water, but only when the water enters the nose.