Kansas Girl Dies After Contracting Brain-Eating Amoeba

Monday, July 14th 2014, 11:19 am
By: News 9

A 9-year-old girl from Springhill, Kansas, died after contracting a brain-eating amoeba during a swim.

Hally Yust had been spending her summer swimming in several lakes near her home. And it's one of those swims that likely took her life.

Health officials say it's unclear how Yust got the infection, but they believe she contracted it when water entered her nose, possibly while she was water skiing.

Brain-eating amoeba is commonly found in freshwater. However, your chances of contracting it are extremely rare.

"This organism lives in all bodies of water. I mean, you're more likely to die from drowning, than you are to ever to die from this organism. It's like a one-in-a-billion," Hally’s father, Shon Yust said.

Researchers say a risk of infection is very low, but increases during summer when water is warmer, and more people are doing water-related activities.

In the past decade, about 40 people have died nationwide from brain-eating amoeba. Since 1995, six Oklahomans have died.

The most recent was in 2012 when 9-year-old Dalton Counts from Colbert, Oklahoma, died after swimming in the Red River.