Texas girl, Lily Mae Avant contracts rare deadly brain-eating amoeba during river swim through the nose. Dies after having clung to life as medics put girl in induced coma in bid to treat infection.
##Update. Monday morning: Lily Mae Avant, 10, died overnight Monday in a Fort Worth hospital after swimming in the Brazos River and contracting a rare infection caused by a fresh water amoeba, the first symptoms of which typically appear about a week after the amoeba enters the nose.
## Original story– late Sunday night, Sept 15: A Texas girl is in a coma – fighting for her life after being infected with a deadly brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a river over Labor Day weekend.
Lily Mae Avant, 10, of Laguna Park, went swimming in the Brazos River near Waco — where doctors believe she contracted the often-fatal Naegleria fowleri amoeba, KWTX-TV reported.
Days after her swim, the Valley Mills Elementary School student started experiencing a fever and a headache.
Though she appeared to be suffering from symptoms of a common virus, her family said they still believed that ‘something was not quite right,’ according to a Facebook page launched to support Lily.
Then one night, Lily’s mother heard noises coming from her daughter’s room.
‘She was incoherent, unresponsive and was quickly swept up and taken to the ER,’ the page said.
‘It’s every parents worse nightmare.’
The amoeba — which is found naturally in freshwater — isn’t life-threatening when accidentally swallowed but can be fatal if it enters the body through the nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDCP – symptoms typically appear about a week after the amoeba enters the nose.
‘It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,’ her aunt, Crystal Warren, told KWTX. ‘For this to happen to her when there were so many other people in the same waters on the same days we just don’t understand why it was her.’
‘The doctors told us there is nothing more that they can do for her and they have exhausted all resources due to the fact that this is such a fatal disease and it claims its victims so quickly,’ Warren said.
‘Most people that lose their life to this battle they lose between day three and day five well today is day six for our Lily,’ Warren told the outlet on Friday.
Added the aunt, ‘We have high hopes. She is a fighter and she’s always been a fighter.’
Lily who was placed in a medically induced coma continued to remain alive early into Monday morning as family and friends gathered.
Cases are extremely rare:
The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed Thursday that a Bosque County resident has primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which is typically found in fresh water bodies such as ponds, lakes and rivers.
‘The amoeba is present in freshwater across Texas and elsewhere in the US, and there’s no particular body of water that would present a greater risk. Cases are extremely rare, despite the millions of people who swim in lakes and rivers every year,’ agency spokesman Chris Van Deusen said.
Between 2009 and 2018, the CDC says only 34 cases of the Naegleria fowleri infection were reported in the US. Only four people out of the 145 known cases survived between 1962 and 2018.
Warren said she’s hopeful her niece ‘will be number five to survive.’