Texas teenager Michael Riley Jr., 14, is fighting for his life after a brain-eating amoeba entered his body following a swim in a local lake.
Michael, a three-time junior Olympian and honor student, should have been starting high school on Monday, ABC 13 reports. Instead, the Houston-area boy is fighting to stay alive at Texas Children’s Hospital.
“Coming from a lake, you might think maybe you’d get an ear infection, something like that,” Mike Riley Sr., Michael’s father, told ABC 13. “You wouldn’t think that going to the doctor’s office that they’d tell you your son only has a couple days to live, which is what they told us.”
It’s believed that Michael was infected while he swam at the Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston with his track team in mid-August. Doctors have suggested that the brain-eating amoeba probably swam up his nose and into his brain.
To date, only three people have ever survived this specific type of amoeba. Most recently, a teen in Arkansas managed to fight against it.
Five cases of the amoeba have been reported in the U.S. this year. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working on experimental drugs, a medically induced coma, and a cold mat therapy to help those infected with the amoeba heal.
The Riley family has warned others to look for symptoms of the amoeba, which include headache, vomiting, fever and disorientation.
Photo Credit: Riley Family via KHOU