US National Whitewater Center needs county permit to reopen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Officials say the U.S. National Whitewater Center can’t reopen for whitewater sports this year until Mecklenburg County issues a newly required permit for the facility where an Ohio visitor got a deadly infection last summer.

Multiple media outlets report the center applied Feb. 23 for the annual operating permit from the county health department. The center was scheduled to resume water activities on March 4.

The permit can be suspended if the center doesn’t meet water-quality or safety standards.

The county began requiring the permit after 18-year-old Lauren Seitz of Westerville, Ohio, died of a rare brain infection caused by a single-celled animal, the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, after visiting the center on June 8.

The amoeba is widespread in warm, open waters. Infections are rare but almost always fatal.