Boy who got brain-eating disease from lake dies

A teenager from Texas who contracted a brain-eating disease after swimming in a lake about 110km north of Houston has died .

Michael Riley Jr, 14, a junior Olympian, seemed to have contracted the rare disease after he went swimming on August 13 with his track team, his father Mike Riley told KTRK earlier this week.

“It is with a heavy heart, that we let everyone know that Michael John Riley Jr lost his battle on this earth but won a victory for his place in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the family said in a statement on their Facebook page.

A spokeswoman for Texas Children’s Hospital, where Riley had been listed as a patient, declined to provide information, citing patient confidentiality.

The disease is caused by exposure to a single-celled organism known as Naegleria fowleri, often referred to as the brain-eating amoeba.

It is commonly found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers and hot springs, as well as soil.

It usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contracting the brain disease is rare, it said.

The organism is most commonly encountered in the southern US during the summer, when temperatures are highest, the CDC said.


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