WACO, Texas -- A 10-year-old girl who was hospitalized after she contracted a brain-eating amoeba has died.
Lily Mae Avant died early Monday morning, her family confirmed. Lily's family told WFAA the girl started to feel sick on Sunday, Sept. 8. Lily was found unresponsive with her eyes open.
Doctors and members of the Centers for Disease Control are working to figure out how she contracted the amoeba.
They're working to determine if it was when she went swimming in the Brazos River near her house in Laguna Park or at Lake Whitney on Labor Day.
"For this to happen to her when there were so many other people in the same waters on the same days, we just don't understand why it was her," Lily's aunt Wendy Scott told KWTX.
Lily's family released a statement after her death.
"At this time, our baby is completely healed and in the arms of Jesus. We want everyone to know we appreciate their prayers and love and support. Our Lily Mae changed lives and brought unity to a divided nation. It's just like her! She loved everyone, and people felt it even through TV or Facebook. She taught us so much more than we ever taught her. Thank you guys for being so respectful to the family during this time and please have the country continue to pray for our family. Especially mom and dad."
Doctors say many people who contract the dangerous parasite die within three to five days after starting to feel the effects.
The scientific name of the amoeba is Naegleria fowleri, and it is typically found in bodies of fresh water like rivers, ponds and lakes.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Health says the amoeba is present in fresh water all over the country.
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