MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The death of a young swimmer who contracted a brain-eating amoeba in a western Minnesota lake has rippled throughout the community.

People from the town of Glenwood, located on Lake Minnewaska, are offering their thoughts and prayers to Hunter Boutain’s family.

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Boutain, 14, contracted the rare brain infection Tuesday while swimming in the Pope County lake.

Lifeguards say the beach has been quiet this week, and until Thursday they didn’t see even one swimmer enter the water.

At Woodlawn Resort in Glenwood, this is typically the busiest month of the year.

But aside from the post-Fourth lull, there’s an extra stillness in the town, an extra heaviness.

“Our lake is safe, but to this family, it wasn’t,” Scott Orgman Crumb said. “We are thinking and praying for them.”

It seems Lake Minnewaska is now a place people just don’t want to be.

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“Many customers have called and said they’re not coming to this lake for the rest of the of the year, maybe not even next year,” Crumb said.

The mayor has started a campaign to reassure the public.

“Swimming in Lake Minnewaska is as safe as swimming in any lake in the nation,” said Sharon Braaten of Horizon Public Health. “The fact there has been one confirmed case from this lake does not make the lake more dangerous.”

And a few people did get back in the water.

Crumb said he’s going to try and get his guests back by concentrating on above-water and shore-side activities, but he knows his family’s summer loss is only temporary.

“The first priority is to the family and to show our love toward them and to pray for them and to have others pray for them and to find out more,” he said.

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The mayor says they are giving out free nose plugs for those who do want to get back in the water.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield