A parasitic amoeba called Naegleria fowleri has caused a devastating infection in the brain of a 12 year-old boy from La Belle, Florida. The infection is considered a rare disease in definition only. Any disease that hasn’t affected over 200,000 people in the United States is labeled rare according to the National Institute of Health, Office of Rare Diseases.
Zachary Reyna is currently fighting for his life after being diagnosed with this parasitic amoeba. His family told a news affiliate at CNN (WBBH-TV) on August 15 that their son was outdoors playing and slipped into a ditch filled with water. This minor incident occurred on August 3 and caused the young lad to become lethargic resulting in his sleeping the entire next day away.
Zachary’s family was very concerned and rushed him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis at the Miami Children’s Hospital. He is currently in critical condition in the intensive care unit at the hospital after doctors performed brain surgery.
The Florida Department of Health has issued a health warning for all concerned. It is a big concern for swimmers and anyone who comes in contact with contaminated water. This single-celled organism is commonly found in bodies of warm freshwater such as rivers, hot springs, lakes and puddles. The soil can also is affected by this parasite as well as pools that aren’t chlorinated properly or warm and/or contaminated tap water.
This parasitic amoeba organism enters the body from a person’s nostrils and travels upwards towards the brain. One the amoeba reaches the brain the person will be diagnosed with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis or PAM. This diagnosis is serious as the infection actually attacks the brain and the infection eats at the person’s brain cells. Many who are diagnosed with this infectious disease never make it. The horrific rate of ninety-nine percent is how the fatality rate has been described which is very scary. Currently only three people have survived this deadly parasite in the past fifty years.
According to the CDC some of the symptoms after the infection appears include headaches, fever, vomiting, nausea and a stiff neck. The CDC is asking people to avoid swimming in freshwater where water levels are low and the temperature is high or very warm. Wading in shallow water is also being advised against since the sediment at the bottom gets stirred up and can cause the parasites to come closer to the surface. They also are asking that swimmers wear nose clips/plug if they must go swimming and if there is a need to flush the sinuses that distilled or sterilized water be used and not common tap water.
Zachary’s parents are praying that their son will be survivor number four. Prayers go to Zachary and his family that he has a full recovery.
© 2013 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved
Never miss another news or gossip story again! Subscribe to Healthy Living Examiner and receive a free notification every time something new is published.
More reading topics from this author: