Girl gets brain-eating bug from swimming
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."
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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."
Over the next few days, Avant's condition rapidly deteriorated, the young girl becoming incoherent before being taken to the emergency room.
"She was brought into the emergency room on Tuesday when she woke up unresponsive," Scott said. "She was eyes open, she was there, but she wasn't speaking. Nothing."
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the rare brain infection, called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), is almost always fatal.
Avant's devastated family continue to fight, creating a Facebook group to help spread awareness of the rare but fatal condition.
"Today is day six. Day six is a miracle," said Scott on Friday. "God's strength and the community and all the prayers fro the Facebook (group) #LilyStrong, we are doing great. We are very, very positive."
Avant remains in a stable condition.