Lawyers representing the family of the young boy who died after possibly being infected with a deadly amoeba at an Arlington wading pool stood alongside the child’s parents at a press conference Monday afternoon and announced that ‘they had filed a wrongful death complaint against the city of Arlington. .
Lawyers shared photos and identified the child as 3-year-old Bakari Williams. Williams visited the city‘s Don Misenhimer Park before being hospitalized at Cook Children’s Medical Center with primary amebic meningoencephalitis. He died on September 11.
Bakari’s parents Tariq Williams and Kayla Mitchell described their son as energetic and loving.
“We just want you all to know that Bakari was a loving, energetic, compassionate, sweet, handsome and innocent boy. He didn’t deserve to die this way,” said Tariq Williams, Bakari’s father.
“He’s always been a big ball of energy, it’s very quiet at home without him,” said Bakari’s mother Kayla Mitchell.
They said they had visited the water park on several occasions, including at least three visits before his death.
The lawsuit accuses the city of not maintaining basic wading pool maintenance and not adequately treating the water supply, posing a risk to the general public. Lawyers want the case to go to a jury and seek more than $ 1 million in damages.
“When you have public entertainment like the splash pad, you just have to get up and do what is mandated by the state of Texas and they didn’t,” attorney Stephen said. Stewart.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday confirmed that water samples taken from groundwater were positive for Naegleria fowleri ameba and that groundwater was the likely source of exposure to the deadly parasite.
The city of Arlington said the wading pool and all other areas of the city were closed after the city learned of the child’s hospitalization on September 5.
Lemuel Randolph, Arlington’s deputy city manager, said last week that the city had failed to meet its maintenance standards on its playgrounds and “identified gaps in our daily inspection program.”
Randolph said in a statement that all playgrounds will remain closed until they have insurance systems working as they should and a maintenance protocol is in place that meets city standards, county and state.
What is primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)?
PAM is a rare and often fatal infection caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. The parasite, commonly known as the brain-eating amoeba, typically infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal.
CDC reports “Infection usually occurs when people go swimming or snorkeling in warm freshwater places, such as lakes and rivers. In very rare cases, Naegleria infections can also occur when contaminated water from Other sources (such as insufficiently chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enter the nose 1-4. You cannot be infected by swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria. “
The risk of N. fowleri infection is very low, with 37 infections reported in the United States between 2010 and 2020, and only 151 since 1962, According to the CDC. Most infections, according to CDC data, are present in July and August.
Symptoms of PAM usually present within nine days of infection, according to the CDC. Other than this child, no other case of this infection has been reported to Tarrant County Public Health.
The most recent case of PAM in north Texas claimed the life of Lily Avant, 10, who died in 2019 almost a week after doctors confirmed she contracted Naegleria fowleri while swimming in a river near from her home in Whitney.