Hunter Boutain, 14, was swimming in Lake Minnewaska in Minnesota in early July shortly before he fell ill. He died on July 9 and the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially believed he died due to a brain-eating amoeba, which can be found in warm freshwater lakes.
Health officials have now confirmed he died of streptococcal meningoencephalitis, also known as bacterial meningitis. Hunter was susceptible to the infection because of a head injury he sustained a month before in a skateboarding accident, KMSP reported.
“As a standard confirmation step, testing was conducted at CDC to verify that initial finding. In this case, the laboratory testing did not corroborate the initial finding,” state health officials said in a news release.
"The laboratory results help bring clarity to the situation, but do not lessen the tragic nature of this case.”
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Though Hunter’s family is relieved the community is safe, they described the tragedy of their son’s death in a separate interview with KMSP. They described their son as Bible-loving teen with a passion for the outdoors.
“He was a go-getter,” his father Jeff said. “I called him my little helper. He was always there to jump in and help. He would always jump in.”
Hunter’s family created an online fundraiser to help with the expenses of his death. According to their YouCaring page, the family is still $280 short of the fundraising goal.