A 12-year-old boy has been killed by a brain-eating parasite. Zachary Reyna, of Labelle, Fla., died at Miami Children's Hospital Saturday afternoon. According to CNN on Aug. 25, 2013, a ventilator was used so that his organs may be donated.
Doctors had given Zachary an experimental drug to treat the rare amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri, that he had.
The brain-eating parasite infected the boy when he was playing in a water filled ditch with his friends. The Florida Department of Health sent out a warning about swimming in ditches and ponds during periods of high temperatures. This story was originally covered on Aug. 16, "Brain-eating warning: Deadly amoeba sickens young boy in Florida."
This is the second instance this summer of a child being infected by a brain-eating parasite under similar circumstances. Another 12-year-old, Kali Harding, contracted the parasite in Arkansas as reported here, "Parasitic meningitis: New confirmed case in Arkansas." She is recovering and is only the third person in the United States to do so.
This brain-eating parasite is usually fatal. The last confirmed case in the United States was reported in 2010. Between 2001 and 2010, 32 people contracted it in the United States. This disease cannot be spread from one person to another.
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