The Grapevine

Texas Records New Case Of Brain-Eating Amoeba In 10-Year-Old

A 10-year-old girl in Texas was left fighting for her life due to a deadly brain-eating amoeba. The patient contracted the amoeba after swimming in the Brazos River and Lake Whitney in Bosque County.

Lily Mae Avant went out over the Labor Day weekend to swim near Waco. What was a fun moment with her family turned into a tragedy after she got exposed to Naegleria fowleri amoeba, KWTX-TV reported.

On Sept. 8, Lily started to experience fever and a headache. Her family said in a Facebook post that they noticed “something was not quite right” with her despite showing symptoms of common viral infection. 

She then experienced trouble sleeping. Her mother said they rushed her daughter to the emergency room after being “incoherent” and unresponsive.

Lily was treated at Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth. Doctors confirmed she contracted Naegleriasis, a rare infection caused by Naegleria fowleri. 

The condition is known for having  a 97 percent fatality rate, CNN reported

"It's every parent's worst nightmare," Crystal Warren, Lily’s aunt, 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 5th-grade student at Valley Mills Elementary School is "putting up a fierce battle for her life, caused by this awful amoeba," according to principal Chris Dowdy. "She is an outstanding student, but more importantly, she is just a tremendous person. Everyone in our community, state and even the entire country is praying for this sweet child.”

Naegleria fowleri amoeba is present around the world. It commonly stays in warm fresh water, including lakes, rivers and hot springs as well as soil.

People contract the amoeba through ingestion. Naegleria fowleri travels to the brain and targets brain tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency recorded 34 cases of the brain-eating infection between 2009 and 2018 in the U.S. Among the 145 patients since 1962, only four people survived.

Warren said their family hopes Lily will be the fifth person to live after the infection.

amoeba Brain-eating amoeba travels to the brain and may cause severe bacterial meningitis, leading to brain swelling and death. Pixabay