MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A teenage boy who’s suspected of contracting a rare brain infection after swimming in a lake has died.
Hunter Boutain, 14, may have developed the rare form of meningitis after swimming in Lake Minnewaska in Pope County.
Hunter’s family has remained by his side at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Children’s Hospital.
But on Thursday afternoon, his uncle, Bryan Boutain, released a difficult statement.
“Hunter’s condition deteriorated throughout the night and he was declared brain dead this morning,” the statement said. “Hunter died surrounded by his family. It is a deeply emotional time for all us. We ask for privacy and prayers as we remember our beloved Hunter.”
The 14-year-old was active in church and was even part of a bible quizzing group that competed around the Midwest.
He had just finished 8th grade at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria and was involved in orchestra, jazz band and a student news activity called Discovery Highlights.
“The passing of Hunter Boutain is a heartbreaking tragedy for the family and the entire 206 school community,” Alexandria Public Schools Superintendent Julie Critz said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this difficult time.”
The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating whether Hunter contracted primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The brain infection is caused by an amoeba, which is typically found in freshwater or soil all over the world.
The organism enters the body through the nose, typically, when a swimmer inhales or dives into warm lake water.
If confirmed, this would be the third known case of this brain infection in Minnesota. The last two were in 2010 and 2012 and linked to a lake in Stillwater.