Another child has been infected with the brain-eating parasite known as Naegleria fowleri.
Zachary Reyna,12, is fighting for his life against the brain-eating amoeba in intensive care at Miami Children's Hospital. Now, the Florida Department of Health has issued a warning for swimmers.
High water temperatures and low water levels provide the perfect breeding ground for this rare amoeba, called Naegleria fowleri, officials said. They warned the public “… to be wary when swimming, jumping or diving in freshwater” with these conditions.
Reyna’s family says he was kneeboarding with friends in a water-filled ditch by his house on August 3. He slept the entire next day.
His mother took him to the hospital. He had brain surgery, and doctors diagnosed him with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it has been in touch with the boy’s doctors and has released the same experimental anti-amoeba drug used to treat 12-year-old Kali Hardig recently in Arkansas. The Arkansas girl is only the third person in the last 50 years to survive this deadly parasite. Hardig was swimming in a freshwater water park last month when she became ill and has been in the hospital ever since.
According to the CDC getting Naegleria fowleri is very rare. There were only 32 reported cases in the US between 2001 and 2010. Most of the cases have been in the Southeast.
The cases are nearly always deadly, but Hardig’s condition is giving the Reyna family some hope.