The teenager was set to start her senior year of high school this week
A Georgia student died before her senior year of high school due to a rare brain-eating amoeba.
Megan Ebenroth, 17, died on July 22 after contacting the amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri while swimming in a freshwater lake in Georgia. Her mom, Christina Ebenroth, confirmed her death to WRDW-TV just days after the Georgia Department of Public Health issued a public safety alert about the infection.
“I do want it to be known that Doctors Hospital tried to do a spinal tap to diagnose her and that the Children’s Hospital at MCG fought aggressively for her," Christina told the outlet.
According to the public safety alert, Ebenroth's case was the sixth to be reported in Georgia since 1962. While the risk for infection is low, the agency advised that "recreational water users should always assume there is a risk when they enter warm fresh water."
Once an individual becomes contaminated with the infection, it can damage brain tissue, resulting in brain swelling and often death, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Symptoms can begin anywhere between one to 12 days after becoming infected and “typically start with severe headache, fever, nausea and vomiting and progress to stiff neck, seizures, and coma that can lead to death," according to the alert.
While few details are known about the specifics of Ebenroth's case, the McDuffie County Coroner’s Office told WJBF that Ebenroth spent a few days at the hospital after the incident. Her case was ruled to be a brain infection, the office added.
Ebenroth was set to begin her senior year at Thomson High School this week and had plans to attend the University of Georgia, per WRDW-TV.
She is remembered for being a straight-A student who had leadership positions, including vice president of her school's Spanish Club and president of the Beta Club.
The Belle Meade Country Club, which employs her boyfriend Seth Adams, created a GoFundMe campaign. The company explained in the campaign's description that all proceeds will go to Ebenroth's family.
"As most of you know our Cart Attendant Seth Adams has been an incredible asset to our club and operation over the past few years," the GoFundMe campaign reads. "Last week his Girlfriend Megan Ebenroth suddenly passed away from a rare brain infection and we would like to take this time of grief to help Megan's family out during these tough and trying times."
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As of this writing, the campaign has collected 44 donations and has exceeded its fundraising goal of $1000.
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