Brooklyn College student dies from rare brain-eating amoeba infection

Posted September 14, 2016

Health officials say a NY college student has died of a rare brain infection she probably contracted while swimming in a body of fresh water in Maryland.

A degenerative brain infection has taken life of a 19-year-old Brooklyn College student.

Stoutenburgh died on Wednesday, August 31st, just four days after her initial hospitalization but more than four weeks after she contracted the amoeba.

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Doctors believe Kerry Stoutenburgh contracted the rare amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, from jumping into a warm body of water in Cecil County, Md.

Kerry Stoutenburgh's family and loved ones say she was "a fearless, lovely and brilliant human being". This holiday turned deadly, as she was hospitalized a week after the swim with symptoms that included vomiting and persistent headaches. The amoeba leads to an infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis that results into brain tissue destruction.

"It is a catastrophic type of infection", Ulster County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith told The Daily Freeman.

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A brain-eating amoeba killed a 19-year-old Brooklyn College student, according to media reports. "It really progresses to fatality quite quickly".

The amoeba usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It has a fatality rate of over 97 percent; only three people in the US have survived a Naegleria infection in the past 50 years.

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Stoutenburgh's family says she started complaining of a headache and sensitivity to light a few days after she returned home to upstate NY.

A Gofundme page has been started for Stoutenburgh.

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