Amoeba claims second Polk County victim

October 1st, 2009 by

LAKE WALES – Health officials have confirmed that a second young person from Polk County died after contracting an infection from an amoeba living in Florida lakes.

Investigators say 22-year-old Shane Sugaski was from Lake Wales, and was going to school in Orlando at the University of Central Florida.

Sugaski died after going wakeboarding at an Orlando waterpark.

His family described him as an intense young man who would throw himself into anything he decided to do, be it skiing or riding moto cross. But his latest passion was wakeboarding.

Sugaski was going to school at UCF in Orlando, and was just a stone’s throw from a water sports facility. Every Wednesday, like clockwork, he would go there to practice.

His father says two weeks ago, after wakeboarding, Shane got sick and died after coming in contact with a deadly amoeba.

Now, his parents are trying to understand why so many people play on the water, and their son was the one whose luck ran out. They are relying on their strong faith in God to keep going.

“It appears that this was meant for Shane, because his organs went to eight people, and probably saved eight lives,” his father Brian Sugaski said.

Shane was the second person with Polk County ties to die from the amoeba in the last month or so. A 10-year-old boy died in August after tubing on a lake in Auburndale.

Experts say people who get water forced up their nose are at greatest risk. They suggest wearing nose plugs, and staying out of the water closest to shore, which is the warmest.

The organism is most dangerous when the water heats up.

Now that cooler temperatures are arriving, experts say we may be at the tail end of the danger zone, at least for this year.

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