14-year-old Houston boy with brain-eating amoeba dies

HOUSTON -- A 14-year-old Houston boy who battled a brain-eating amoeba has died at Texas Children's Hospital, according to a post by his family on his Facebook page.

Michael Riley fought Primary Amoeba Meningoencephalitis, a disease that also claimed the life of a 4-year-old boy in Houston.

Michael's family posted this message this morning:

    "It is with a heavy heart that we tell you, 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. Michael fought a courageous fight over the past week, allowing him to move on to be with the Lord for future heavenly tasks, a beautiful set of wings, and a pair of gold running shoes.

    "The tests tonight produced undesirable results which were coupled with the inability to function without support and proper blood flow to the brain.

    "As Michael's work here is done, we will begin our work in honoring him by continuing with our search for a better understanding along with an awareness campaign in hopes of sparing others from the tremendous pain and agony that follows the onset of Naegleria fowleri and primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

    "We will release information regarding service arrangements in the near future.

    "Family and friends from all over the world have shown tremendous support both in presence and from far distances. Our family continues to find comfort in your prayers and love, please keep them coming. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your outpouring of love.
    The Riley Family"

A GoFundMe page is set up for Michael's family.

According to the CDC, 97 percent of patients who contract PAM do not survive. The amoeba is common in Texas freshwater lakes and rivers, but the infection caused by the amoeba is very rare. The state health department does not place warning signs around lakes to warn swimmers.

There's still a lot to be learned about the brain-eating amoeba, but doctors said children are the most common victims. They are the ones playing, splashing and jumping in the lakes; those activities increase the likelihood of water going up their noses.
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