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Stillwater lake closed for season after boy's death

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Lily Lake
Lily Lake in Stillwater is closed to swimmers for the season after a 9-year-old boy who had gone swimming at the lake died of an amoeba infection.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

Stillwater officials say they'll keep Lily Lake closed for the remainder of the season after tests confirmed a rare amoeba infection killed a 9-year-old boy earlier this month. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tests have confirmed that Jack Ariola Erenberg contracted a rare form of meningitis while swimming in the lake. 

Health officials say the amoeba called Naegleria is ubiquitous in the environment but the illness that killed the Erenberg has most commonly been seen in the southern U.S. 

A little more than 100 people are known to have died of the disease in the U.S. since it was formally identified in the early 1960s. Two years ago, one other Minnesota child died from it — also after swimming in Lily Lake. 

Stillwater City Administrator Larry Hansen said officials decided to close the lake to swimming as a precaution.

  "The lake remains open for boating and for fishing and things like that, but we are going to close it for the season this year," Hansen said.

Hansen said the city will meet with Washington County and state health officials after Labor Day to discuss plans for next swimming season.