10-year-old girl dies of rare brain-eating amoeba

/ 04:00 PM September 18, 2019

A 10-year-old girl has died, her family said in a statement last Monday, Sept. 16, after she contracted a rare brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a river in Texas, United States.

Lily Mae Avant swam in a river and lake over the Labor Day holiday weekend earlier this month, then suffered a headache and a fever the following weekend.


Lily Mae Avant, amoeba

Lily Mae Avant. Image: Facebook/Wendy Scott

Her health quickly deteriorated, and she was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth City, Texas.

Her fight for life attracted support from across the U.S. and around the world.


The family said in a statement on Facebook that Lily Mae is now “in the arms of Jesus.”

“Words can not begin to express how overwhelming this past week has been for our family,” they said. “We have been flooded by your love and support and feel incredibly humbled by how many lives have been impacted by our sweet and sassy Lily Mae.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services told American media that she had primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a brain infection caused by the so-called brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

The first symptoms of the infection typically appear about a week after the amoeba enters the nose.

“The amoeba is present in freshwater across Texas and elsewhere in the U.S., and there’s no particular body of water that would present a greater risk,” agency spokesman Chris Van Deusen told CBS-affiliate KWTX. “Cases are extremely rare despite the millions of people who swim in lakes and rivers every year.” RGA/JB


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TAGS: amoeba, hospitals, rivers, Texas, United States
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