Family of child killed by amoeba recall boy who loved to play

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 13 at 11:00 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

The family of 4-year-old Drake Smith Jr. is speaking out about their son's tragic and sudden death. 

The little boy died from a deadly amoeba after playing on a Slip and Slide in St. Bernard Parish.
 
"I hate that this had to happen for everybody to know that," said April Smith of her little boy's death, which is now serving as a lesson about the dangers of naegleria fowler.

It's a parasite the family knew little about until their summer vacation took a turn for the worse.
 
From bumper cars to trampolines and slip and slides, Drake Smith Jr. loved to play outside. In July, the toddler did just that visiting his grandmother's house in St. Bernard Parish.
 
"They wanted to play on the little slip and slide. So we set it up outside to play in. They started at noon and ended around 4 p.m.," said Smith.
 
Never in her wildest dreams did the mother of two imagine that four hours of playtime would turn deadly for Drake. Smith says about 10 days later he suddenly didn't feel well and he felt feverish.
 
"That Friday he said, 'Mommy, I don't feel good.' I said, 'Okay, go lay down and I gave him a Tylenol or something in that range," said Smith.
 
However, Smith says the pain and discomfort wouldn't go away.
 
The Mississippi family confirms two trips to the hospital ending at Tulane Medical Center couldn't cure her son's symptoms. She says he seemed confused and would stare blankly at family in the room.
 
The Smith family spent five days at the hospital before Drake passed away. Autopsy results sent to the CDC uncovered the unthinkable.
 
"Really surprised, because we said he didn't go swimming. The only thing we kept telling them is he was on a Slip and Slide," said Smith, who added that the brain-eating amoeba was found in her son's tissue.
 
A young life taken by a silent and rare killer. Now this family is changed forever, now that their oldest will no longer grace them with his playful spirit and smiles. 
 
"I just want everyone to know it was an actual child and not let this fly. That it can happen to someone else's child," said Smith.
 
The Smith's confirm testing showed that the brain-eating amoeba was found in a water hose and toilet at their relative's home in Violet.
 
The family is steering clear of blaming anyone. They do question why the parish says its water supply is safe to use when test results show the amoeba was found in four different locations in the parish's water system.

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