Riverside County health officials are urging swimmers to use caution after the death Saturday of a Lake Elsinore child infected with a waterborne parasite.
Authorities said it was unknown exactly where the 9-year-old boy contracted the deadly Naegleria fowleri amoeba. He had gone swimming in Lake Elsinore several times this summer.
The parasite lives in warm freshwater lakes, rivers and poorly maintained swimming pools, experts say. It enters the brain through the nose, where it can cause a severe and nearly always fatal infection. This is the county's first confirmed case of the illness.
"The risk of infection is extremely low and is no different in Lake Elsinore than in any other warm-water lake," said Dr. Eric Frykman, a Riverside County public health officer. "This is not a new risk, but because of the unique nature of it and because it is fatal, we wanted to get this information out to the public."