Zachary Reyna Dies Amoeba

Florida Boy Zachary Reyna Dies After Battle With Brain-Eating Amoeba

Zachary Reyna died on Saturday after a battle with a brain-eating amoeba. Rena, a 12-year-old Florida boy, is believed to have contracted the parasite while kneeboarding with friends on August 3.

Reyna’s death was announced in a post on his Facebook support page written by his father. A second post later on clarified that while the boy had “passed,” his body was being kept on a ventilator at Miami Children’s Hospital.

Family of the 12-year-old will be allowed to visit and say goodbye on Sunday, reports ABC Action News. After that, his organs will be donated to others in need.

In the post, Zachary’s family explained, “The battle is over for Zac but he won the war.” It added that the preteen died at 1:54 pm local time. Prior to his death, Zachary was given an experimental drug by doctors to treat the rare amoeba called Naegleri fowleri.

Zachary fell ill after kneeboarding with friends in a ditch by his house. He underwent brain surgery after he was hospitalized. After the surgery, doctors diagnosed him with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, notes CNN.

After news of the diagnosis was made public, the Florida Department of Health issued a warning to swimmers regarding high water temperatures and low water levels. Those conditions are the perfect breeding grounds for the rare amoeba. There have only been 32 reported cases in the United States between 2001 and 2010.

But Zachary Reyna’s case isn’t the only one this summer. Twelve-year-old Kali Hardig also contracted the brain-eating parasite in Arkansas this month. But her story had a happier ending. Hardig is only the third person in the last 50 years known to have survived the parasite.

Symptoms of infection include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck. They typically appear between one and seven days after infection. It is contracted when water gets into a person’s nose. From there, the amoeba travels to the brain and begins to wreak havoc. Death usually happens between one and 12 days after symptoms first present.

It is not yet clear when funeral arrangements for Zachary Reyna will be made.

[Image via ShutterStock]