Family identifies boy with brain infection possibly caused by lake amoeba

The shore of Lake Minnewaska near Starbuck in Pope County Minn. A teen is in critical condition with a brain infection after swimming in the lake.
Tim Post | MPR News 2006

The Alexandria teen infected by what health officials suspect is a brain-swelling amoeba while swimming in a central Minnesota lake has been identified.

Hunter Boutain, 14, is in critical condition, members of his family said Wednesday.

The boy is being treated for the often fatal infection at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Health officials believe Boutain was sickened after recently swimming in Lake Minnewaska, about 30 miles from Alexandria. The amoeba called Naegleria fowleri is typically found in freshwater.

According to Minnesota Department of Health officials, the rare infection enters the body through the nose. It is more common in warm southern states but can be found all over the world.

The statement from Hunter's uncle, Bryan Boutain, said family members are grateful for the support they have received.

State health officials say there is no greater risk at Lake Minnewaska than other bodies of water. Minnesota has seen two confirmed cases since 2010. Both children died.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.