The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking for samples from Virginia waterways to develop a test for detecting a deadly microscopic amoeba.
Three people have died this summer from amoebic meningoencephalitis, a condition brought on by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri.
It thrives in warm rivers and lakes during the summer, especially in the South.
One of the deaths came this month, when a nine-year-old Virginia boy died after going to a fishing day camp in Richmond.
The amoeba gets up in the nose, burrows into the skull, and then destroys brain tissue.
"It's a terrible disease that we would like to know more about and be able to tell the public more about from a prevention standpoint," said Michael Beach, the federal agency's associate director for healthy water. "We are trying to learn more, but it's a tough one because it's such a rare occurrence."
Beach says it’s a difficult situation because millions of people swim in water with the amoeba, but only a few die each year.