A 10-year-old girl has tragically died from a brain-eating amoeba after swimming in Brazos River near Waco.
Lily Mae Avant, from Boque County, Texas, swam in the freshwater river over Labor Day weekend and died last Monday, her family confirmed to People. Doctors at the Cook Children’s Medical Center had been treating her for Naegleria fowleri, a rare, sing-celled living organism typically found in fresh bodies of water, including ponds, lakes and rivers.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: A Father-of-Six Died After Contracting Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Texas
After swimming in the river, Lily began having headaches and a fever. She visited the family doctor who recommended taking ibuprofen and staying hydrated. Lily’s headache, however, continued to get worse and her family eventually took her to the ER. Her parents found her unresponsive and she was treated for bacterial and viral meningitis.
She was later transferred to Cook Children’s and given a spinal tap which revealed that she had Naegleriasis. She was given antimicrobial medication to treat the infection.
“Naegleria fowleri, the amoeba that causes PAM, can infect the brain when someone gets untreated water in their nose, usually during swimming or other water recreation,” Chris Van Deusen from the Texas Department of State Health Services told People. “The amoeba, itself, is common in natural, untreated bodies of water across the southern half of the United States, but the infection is extremely rare.”
The state typically sees “zero to one case” a year he continued. Because it’s so rare, health officials have been unable to determine why some people who swim in the fresh water contract, while many don’t.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommended “it’s safest to swim in properly chlorinated water,” though there are precautions swims can take. They recommend avoiding warm freshwater when water temperatures are high and the water levels are low, not putting your head under the water in hot springs and not digging or stirring up sediment when in shallow, warm freshwater areas. It’s also best to hold your hose shut or use nose clips when you go underwater.
It’s also recommended that you only use sterile, distilled or lukewarm previously boiled water when using a Neti-pot.
Brain-Eating Amoeba: What You Need to Know
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
Mamas Uncut is the place for moms online. We cover the latest news around motherhood and parenting, plus entertainment news as well – all with a mom-focused twist. Looking for parenting advice? We have plenty of it, all for moms, from moms. Our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for. We don’t stop there though, we have expert advice on a range of topics, and all of our categories get updated multiple times a day, so if there’s one website for moms you need to bookmark, it’s Mamas Uncut. We cover it all, from the latest and trendiest baby names, in the US and all over the world, to advice for moms in the workplace, or mom to mom advice on balancing it all. Looking for an answer to a specific question you’ve have? Head over to our new answers section, where you can ask questions on a nearly endless amount of topics, and you’ll get answers fast – really fast. Mamas Uncut is more than just the place for moms, it’s the community of moms – all here to help, make friends, and more. Not sure where to start? Take a look at one of our key topic areas like Pregnancy or Relationships – if you’re looking for advice on a specific topic, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ve already written on it (a few times), or that it’s within our answers section. If you don’t have time to read the site every day, we also have a newsletter that you can control how often you want to receive – that way we send all of the must-see content for moms directly to your inbox – it’s that easy. So go ahead and take a look around, ask a question, or just keep reading, we’re glad you’re here.