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msnbc.com news services / updated 8/17/2011 7:23:25 PM ET.
A nine-year-old Virginia boy has died after swimming in water infected by a bug known as the "brain-eating amoeba," according to reports. It was the third such death this month.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Christian Alexander Strickland, 9, of Henrico County, became infected after he went to a fishing camp in the state.
The child died from meningitis Aug. 5 and Bonnie Strickland, his aunt, told the paper that Naegleria fowleri — or "brain-eating amoeba" as it is sometimes known — was a suspected cause of the illness.
"The doctor described it to us as such a slight chance that they didn't even think it would be possible," Bonnie Strickland told the Times-Dispatch.
Health department officials told the paper they do not comment on individual cases. However, they confirmed a case of meningitis and an infection by the bug.
"Sadly, we have had a Naegleria infection in Virginia this summer," Dr. Keri Hall, state epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, in a statement, according to the Times-Dispatch. "It's important that people be aware of … safe swimming messages."
Naegleria fowleri moves into the body through the nose and destroys brain tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bug causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a nearly always fatal disease of the central nervous system, the CDC reported.
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