A brain-eating parasite that lurks in shallow waters may have claimed the life of a 12-year-old Florida boy this week, but medical experts are hoping to continue working on experimental anti-parasite and anti-amoeba drugs in order to help prevent future deaths. The fatal parasite, called Naegleria fowleri, is exceedingly rare but exceedingly deadly, though health officials say there are ways to decrease the chance of contracting the dangerous disease, I4U News reports this Monday, Aug. 26.
The brain-eating parasite that claimed the life of Zachary Reyna of Florida this Saturday has sparked a national health warning this summer. Naegleria fowleri, the scientific name for the amoeba that does target and attack human brain cells, is known to lurk in shallow ponds and warm waters, particularly in the southern parts of the U.S. Medical officials suggest to wear a nose clip when underwater in susceptible areas to avoid the dangerous amoeba.
Zachary Reyna was one of the first who tried to fight the deadly amoeba by having doctors prescribe him still in-the-works and experimental anti-amoebic drugs. Although these drugs were successful in saving the life of another 12-year-old — a girl from Arkansas earlier this year — from the brain-eating parasite, they were unfortunately unsuccessful in saving young Zac’s life.
In light of the brain-eating parasite taking the life of Zac, the Reyna family has said that while the deadly amoeba may have won the battle, it lost the war. The Reyna family will be donating Zac’s organs to science.
Medical officials hope that further examination of Naegleria fowleri and the experimental anti-amoeba drug will eventually enhance the effectiveness of the drug to save future lives from new cases of the parasitic infection. It is hopeful, concluded the report, that someday the in-the-works medicine will be able to more fully counter the brain-eating parasite.