Girl, 10, dies after contracting brain-eating amoeba while swimming

17 September 2019, 12:32

Lily Mae Avant, from Texas, died after going swimming in lakes and rivers
Lily Mae Avant, from Texas, died after going swimming in lakes and rivers. Picture: Collect

By Asher McShane

A girl has died after she contracted a brain-eating amoeba infection when she went swimming in a river.

Lily Mae Avant, from Texas, suffered a headache and fever after swimming in the Brazos River and Lake Whitney.

She did in hospital following a week-long battle with the amoeba naegleria fowleri, which causes the brain to swell and blood flow to be cut off.

According to a Facebook page set up in support of her, her symptoms were put down initially to a viral infection.

However she became incoherent and unresponsive and was flown to hospital in Fort Worth, where she later died. Her school confirmed the death today.

In a Facebook post, it said the school was "deeply saddened" by her loss, adding: "She was an outstanding student, but more importantly, Lily was an incredible person and friend to all.

"She was loving, kind, respectful, and had a beautiful heart."

The rare amoeba can be found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers and hot springs.

Out of 145 known US cases between 1962 and 2018, only four people have survived, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. The fatality rate is over 97%.