The brain-eating parasite that sickened at least two children this summer has claimed another victim, as Florida seventh grader Zac Reyna succumbed to the infection after being taken off life support.
The brain-eating parasite that afflicted Reyna also gravely sickened Kali Hardig, who has been battling the infection since she fell ill in July. Both children had been swimming in freshwater before their illnesses, prompting a warning in Florida over the parasite’s potentially deadly effects.
While Hardig continues to battle for her life, the brain-eating parasite is nearly always fatal to those who contract it despite the advances made in medical science over the years.
A Facebook page to rally support for Reyna and his family, with more than 17,000 followers, updated with the sad news this weekend. One statement from the family read:
“I hope that Zac continues to touch people and his time here is remembered forever. We thank everyone for being so caring and I know it’s going to be tough on us at first, but we have an awesome support team back home and we are grateful for that. The battle is over for Zac but he won the war.”
The page, titled “Pray4Number4 – Zachary Reyna,” refers to the fact that had Zac survived, he and Kali Hardig would have been the third and fourth known survivors of the ravages of the parasite named Naegleria fowleri.
Less than a day ago, the Reyna family posted:
“We respect the doctors protocol but we continue with our faith and believe God will step in on his time irregardless of what has been said. We ask that you continue to pray and believe along with us.
“Thank you and God bless.”
The hospital also released a statement:
“Miami Children’s Hospital expresses heartfelt condolences to this devoted family. We respect the family’s wishes and honor their privacy at this time.”
The condition to which Zac succumbed caused by the brain-eating parasite is known as PAM.