Texas girl, 10, contracts brain-eating amoeba while swimming in river, family says

A Texas girl is battling a brain-eating amoeba that she contracted from a river near her Whitney home earlier this month, her family said.

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According to WFAA-TV, Lily Mae Avant, 10, fell ill after she went swimming with family members in the Brazos River on Labor Day weekend.

Posted by Wendy Scott on Friday, September 13, 2019

"The water is in Lily's backyard," Lily's cousin, Wendy Scott, told the TV station. "She has swum in there day in, day out."

Last week, Lily's head began to ache and she developed a fever, her family said. She was taken to a Fort Worth children's hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, often referred to as a "brain-eating amoeba," WFAA reported.

The rare infections, which are deadly 97 percent of the time, occur "when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose," usually while "swimming or diving in warm freshwater places," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

From 1962 to 2018, 145 people have contracted Naegleria fowleri infections in the United States, according to the CDC. Only four of them survived.

Family members hope that Lily, who was placed in a medically induced coma, will beat the odds.

"She is a fighter, and she's always been a fighter," Lily's aunt, Crystal Warren, told KWTX.

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