Texan child battling brain-eating amoeba dies, tributes flood in

Lily Avant.
Lily Avant. Photo credit: Wendy Scott.

The Texan child who contracted a brain-eating infection that left her battling for her life has died.

On September 8, 10-year-old Lily Avant became sick after swimming in Brazo River, near Fort Worth in Texas. She was put into an induced coma earlier this week, with scans finding she had contracted Naegleria fowleri, often known as brain-eating amoeba. 

However, on Tuesday morning (NZ Time), her aunt wrote on Facebook that she has "gone to be with Jesus".

"She fought the good fight and built and army of prayer warriors around the world doing it," said Loni Yadon.

"Our little global girl had this Earth rumbling the gates of Heaven with praise and worship as we raised a Hallelujah in unison!

"This past week has been a true testament of the kind of girl she was and the tremendous affect she had on people. It was incredible to bare witness and I’m humbled to be a TINY part of her beautiful story [sic].'

Yadon said Avant's parents were experiencing "life's greatest tragedy" and asked for prayers for them.

Avant had initially gone to the doctor after becoming ill, but it was thought she was simply suffering from a virus and was sent home. But after condition deteriorated, with Avant becoming unresponsive and incoherent, she was sent to  Cook Children's Hospital.

The amoeba is commonly found in freshwater and soil and causes infection when it enters the brain, usually through the nose.

According to ABC News, the fatality rate for Naegleria fowleri infections is more than 97 percent. 

A Facebook page, #Lilystrong, set up for the child has been flooded with tributes to Avant since her death was announced.

"This is beyond heartbreaking. And it doesn't make sense as to why God would call her home so soon in life," said one person. "May Gods angles wrap the family in their wings and comfort all of the family [sic]," said another.