Federal authorities are asking for samples of Virginia waterways in an attempt to develop a test for detecting deadly microscopic amoeba.

Health officials say two children and a young man have died this summer from a brain-eating amoeba that lives in water.

This month, a 9-year-old Virginia boy died a week after he went to a fishing day camp.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking Virginia for help to sample waters for Naegleria fowleri.

The free-living amoeba gets up the nose, burrows up into the skull and destroys brain tissue. It’s found in warm lakes and rivers during the hot summer months, mostly in the South.

It’s a medical mystery why some people get sick while many others don’t.