Brain-eating parasite update: Sadly, Zachary Reyna, the 12-year-old Florida boy who fought for his life after being infected with a rare amoeba called, Naegleria fowleri, died Saturday. Despite doctors' best effort to save the boy's life, he passed away. However, the family have designated to have the beloved boy's organs donated, citing an August 25 CNN report.
According to a Facebook page, that was set up to update family and friends about the Florida boy's condition after he contracted the brain-eating amoeba, young Zachary lost the battle Saturday afternoon.
A follow-up post on Saturday said the boy was being kept alive using a ventilator long enough for his organs to be donated. Moreover, family and friends would be allowed to pay their respects to him at the hospital Sunday before they removed life-support.
The story about the brain-eating parasite in Florida came to light after news circulated of the boy's diagnosis weeks ago. Sources say the 12-year old boy was playing in a ditch near his home when he contracted the deadly amoeba.
Family members noticed Reyna began sleeping more than usual instead of playing outside or engaging with others like he normally did on a daily basis.
Doctors later diagnosed him with the rare, but potentially deadly parasite that eats the brain. In fact, it is so rare that between 2001 and 2010, there have only been 32 reported cases of the brain-eating parasite.
Dr. Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health said this about the Naegleria fowleri: "This infection is one of the most severe infections that we know of. Ninety-nine percent of people who get it die."
Because the parasite thrives in warm waters, the CDC advises swimmers in the Southeast to be mindful and take precautions to protect children from potentially contaminated water.
Kali Hardig, a 12-year-old recently infected in Arkansas became only the third person to survive in the last five decades, thanks to an experimental drug.
Unfortunately, efforts to treat the Florida boy with the same drug intervention failed.
Thankfully, the Reyna family have a strong support system and are committed to remaining faithful and prayerful throughout this tough time.
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