Girl Infected With Brain-eating Amoeba While Swimming Dies

The Texan girl who got a brain-eating bacteria has passed away. The family revealed the sad news after the girl succumbed to the infection while receiving treatment.

Before her death, 10-year-old Lily Mae Avant was on life support.

She got the devastating infection as she was swimming in a river in Texas.

On September 8, she complained of a headache and was taken to a local emergency room. She was later taken to Cook Children's Health Care System in Fort Worth.

Initially, she was thought to have been suffering from a common viral sickness. She also had a fever.

The local family doctor had a look at her and prescribed ibuprofen and hydration. This is according to the Facebook page the family set up for the girl.

In her sleep, her mother thought she heard sounds from her, and she realized her situation was getting critical. She had gotten incoherent and unresponsive. That's when she was quickly rushed to the emergency room.

Lily started receiving treatment for bacterial and viral meningitis. However, a spinal test at the Cook's Children hospital revealed she had the brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri.

The virus is common in warm freshwater bodies such as lakes and rivers. It can also be found on soil and hot springs.

How common is this killer amoeba?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the amoeba gets into the body through the nose. This can happen as someone swims or dives in infested waters. From the nose, the virus goes to the brain, where it destroys it.

However, contracting this amoeba is rare, and between 2009 and 2018, CDC has tracked only 34 infections.

Unfortunately, survival rates remain low since 87 percent of patients succumb to the infection. In fact, of the 147 people who have been reported to have the disease in the US, only 4 have survived.

Slim as these survival chances are, the family was hopeful the girl would make it. They hoped that miltefosine, an antimicrobial medication the girl was getting, would cure her. Sadly, that never came to be as the girl eventually passed away. Her aunt reported the news on Facebook after it happened.

In the post, she said, "Words can not begin to express how overwhelming this past week has been for our family." She added that "Our beautiful girl is completely healed and in the arms of Jesus."

The girl got the fatal infection while swimming in Brazos River in Texas.