A toddler with an “illuminating smile” died from a brain-eating amoeba after playing at an Arkansas country club’s splash pad — the fifth such death in the US.
Michael Alexander Pollock III, 16 months, died Sept. 4 after contracting Naegleria fowleri at the Country Club of Little Rock.
“Though Michael’s time on Earth was short, he touched the hearts of family, friends, and even strangers he came across with his illuminating smile and playfulness,” his obituary read.
His parents, Michael Jr. and Julia Pollock,.were out of state, according to Arkansas Online.
The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed the baby died from the amoeba and was likely exposed while playing on the splash pad, according to a press release.
Pollock died at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, according to coroner Gerone Hobbs.
The Health Department sent water samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which confirmed that one sample had traces of the amoeba, the press release stated.
“The department has been in contact with the Country Club of Little Rock and they have been cooperative in inquires with [us],” the Health Department said in a statement.
As of Thursday, the pool had been closed and a cleaning service was seen on the premises, according to Arkansas Online.
There was no immediate response to The Post’s request for comment from the Pollack family and country club.
Naegleria fowleri is found in warm, low-level fresh water and is regularly found in rivers, lakes, and streams. It can be found in chlorinated water, according to the CDC. It is rare to effect humans and must be inhaled through the nose before traveling to the brain, the CDC noted.
Pollock is believed to be the fifth American to die this year from the amoeba.
Late last month, a Texas resident contracted the amoeba while swimming in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson.
In July, a Georgia resident also died from Naegleria fowleri while swimming in a freshwater lake, and a little boy died similarly in Nevada. In that case, Woodrow Bundy, 2 ,contracted it while playing in water in Ash Springs and began to experience flu-like symptoms before he was rushed to a hospital.
A man in Florida also contracted the infection in March after rinsing his nose with tap water.