A boy’s tragic death: Michael John Riley Jr.

Published: September 8, 2015

A boy’s tragic death: Michael John Riley Jr., Michael John Riley Jr., a 14-year-old from Houston, has died of a brain-eating amoeba after swimming with his high school track teammates at Sam Houston State Park.

“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,” his family wrote Sunday on Facebook, KTRK-TV reported.

“The [medical] tests tonight produced undesirable results which were coupled with the inability to function without support and proper blood flow to the brain,” they added.

The deadly disease primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is caused by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, which is usually found in warm, still water.

“They get water up their nose with those organisms in there,” Dr. Luis Ostrosky, medical director of epidemiology at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UT Health, told the Houston Chronicle. “They start invading the nasal tissues. They basically go all the way to the brain and you get a brain infection.”

Riley reportedly went swimming on Aug. 13. He soon reported ever-worsening headaches, and he was soon diagnosed by a physician at Texas Children’s Hospital-West Campus.

Doctors put Riley in an induced coma as part of a treatment regimen, however this weekend test results showed he had passed.

The CDC reported that there have been 133 cases of PAM in the U.S. in the past 50 years. Of those, only three patients survived.


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