Texas girl battles for life after contracting brain-eating amoeba
A young girl is fighting for her life after contracting a brain-eating infection while swimming in a river near her central Texas home.
Lily Avant, 10, fell sick on Sunday, September 8, coming down with a fever after swimming in the Brazos River, near Fort Worth.
Now, she has been placed into a medically-induced coma after contracting a Naegleria fowleri, commonly referred to as brain-eating amoeba, NBC DFW reports.
Doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center are working to reduce the swelling in her brain.
“She has been a fighter. She came into this world fighting,” her aunt Loni Tadon told NBC.
“She likes to put on a show. She likes the attention.”
Amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater and soil. People get infected when water containing the parasite enters through the nose where it can travel to the brain and destroy brain tissue.
The night Avant fell ill, she complained she had a headache before contracting a fever.
The girl’s first cousin, Wendy Scott, told NBC she was seen by a doctor that same night.
“They got it checked out,” she said. “There were several viruses going around the school. It was assumed it’s a virus because the symptoms are exactly the same, so she went home.”
Boy Dies from ‘Brain-Eating’ Amoeba Infection Picked Up in Hot Spring
A boy in California died from a rare “brain-eating” amoeba infection after swimming in a hot spring, according to a new report.
In October 2018, the boy swam in a natural freshwater pool in an area known as Hot Ditch, a popular recreational spot in the Eastern Sierra region of California supplied by warm spring water and frequently visited by local residents and tourists alike. Twelve days later, the symptoms set in. After two days of being racked by fever, headaches and vomiting, the boy was brought to an intensive care unit in Southern California, where he experienced respiratory failure.
A CT scan revealed swelling in the brain; when doctors sampled cerebrospinal fluid through the patient’s lower spine, they discovered microorganisms known as Naegleria fowleri. The case was described today (Sept. 13) in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
N. fowleri, a single-celled organism found in warm freshwater bodies, can enter the brain only via the nose, according to the CDC. The amoeba cannot be contracted by swallowing contaminated water. Once inside the brain, the amoeba multiplies by feeding on brain tissue, causing an often-fatal condition known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). As nervous tissue is destroyed, the organ swells dangerously. Of the 145 known individuals who contracted N. fowleri in the U.S. between 1962 and 2018, just four survived the infection, wrote the CDC.
The California boy died after three days of treatment in the hospital. The unfortunate incident marks the ninth case of PAM in the state since the first reported in 1971, and stands as the third case in a patient exposed to spring water, specifically, according to the MMWR. The infection is rare, but occurs most frequently in southern states and in young males exposed to warm waters during the summer. Today (Sept. 13), another case was reported in Texas where a girl named Lily Mae contracted the infection after swimming in the Brazos River, according to KWTX.