10-Year-Old Texas Girl Dies After Contracting Brain-Eating Amoeba

WWJ News
September 16, 2019 - 5:02 pm
#LilyStrong

(Photo: #LilyStrong Facebook page)

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(WWJ) A 10-year-old Texas girl has died after contracting a rare brain-eating amoeba.

"Our beautiful girl is completely healed and in the arms of Jesus," family member Wendy Scott posted Monday on the #LilyStrong Facebook page. 

"Lily changed lives. Lily saved lives (in the physical and spiritual sense). She brought unity to a divided nation. Which, is just like her! She loved everyone she came in contact with, and we see you all felt that, via news reports or social media. She taught us so much more in her ten years than we ever taught her."

According to reports, officials believe Lily Mae Avant contracted the amoeba while swimming in the Brazos River near Waco, Texas, over Labor Day weekend. She fell ill with a headache and fever and was initially treated for meningitis.

The Lakelander reports Avant was airlifted to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth where doctors performed a spinal tap and confirmed that her symptoms were caused by the rarely-contracted amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which occurs in freshwater and almost always results in death.

"We started this platform because we wanted to bring awareness to Amoeba in an effort to prevent any other family from having to go through this," Scott wrote. "Please wear nose plugs, if you insist on swimming in warm freshwater. If your child starts showing symptoms and has recently been swimming in freshwater, tell your doctor! The quicker they get treatment, the better."

According to the U.S. Centers for Diseas Control, four people in the U.S. out of 143 have survived infection from Naegleria fowleri from 1962 to 2017. The amoeba affects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose and works its way into the brain. A person cannot get infected from swallowing water contaminated with the amoeba. 

Naegleria fowleri is commonly found in southern U.S. states during the warm summer months. However, recently it has also been found and caused infections in some northern states. While infection is rare, people should be aware of the low-level risk while swimming in fresh water lakes, rivers, and hot springs.

Learn more from the CDC at this link