A brain-eating parasite that attacks the brain killed a 12-year-old boy this week, but his devastated family is saying that while the battle may be over for Zachary, the parasite has lost the health war. Zachary Reyna was the Florida boy that contracted the deadly amoeba earlier this month, also known as Naegleria fowleri, which claimed his life at Miami Children’s Hospital late on Saturday, UPI reported this Sunday, Aug. 25.
The brain-eating parasite is often fatal, and the odds for the 12-year-old Florida boy were never very high, but the Reyna family was still hopeful. Now, though they have lose a loved one, the Reyna family took to Facebook to post a message to everyone else, saying that Zachary still changed the world in a positive way during his time here, and the amoeba can never take that away.
“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.”
Miami Hospital also offered a statement on Reyna’s death, noting that the brain-eating parasite (one that is known to enter through the nose and attack brain cells) killed the 12-year-old, and the community offers its sincerest condolences over the loss.
"Miami Children's Hospital expresses heartfelt condolences to this devoted family … We respect the family's wishes and honor their privacy at this time."
According to medical experts that were working with Zachary prior to his death, the 12-year-old boy likely made contact with the fatal brain-eating parasite while playing in a water-filled ditch with his friends only blocks away from his Florida home in LaBelle. The next day, Zach only slept for hours on end, and his parents knew something was wrong.
Zachary was soon diagnosed with the dangerous and highly rare infectious amoeba, called primary amoebic encephalitis. Though he was given still-experimental anti-amoeba drugs that helped save another girl’s life that had contracted the brain-eating parasite, it did not work for young Zachary.
The Reyna family added that they are going to be donating their son’s own organs, so that he may go on to save other lives. In this way, the brain-eating parasite may have won the battle, but indeed lost the war.
"Even though Zac has passed, he will still be saving many lives," the family said.
The Reyna’s are keeping their son’s services private at this point in time.