Brain Eating Parasite Claims the Life of 12 Year Old Florida Boy

The 12 year old boy from Florida that was infected with the brain eating parasite has died.  A Facebook page that has been giving details and updates from Zachary Reyna’s family indicated that the boy died on Saturday afternoon.

The 12 year old Florida boy infected with a brain eating parasite has died.

The 12 year old Florida boy infected with a brain eating parasite has died.

The rare parasite, Naegleria fowleri has claimed most of the people that have been infected by it in history.  Zachary was treated with an experimental medication that was the same treatment Kali Hardig was successfully given after being infected in Arkansas.  She is only the third person to have survived the infection in the last 50 years.

According to Zachary’s family, he was active.  He had been kneeboarding with his friends in a ditch filled with water near his house on August 3 before he became ill.  The next day he slept all day long, and his mother took him to the emergency room.  Zachary then had brain surgery, which led doctors to diagnose him with “primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.”

Health officials in Florida and across the country have been warning people to avoid swimming in fresh water that is warm and low because this is the perfect place for this type of amoeba that is rare, but extremely deadly.

There have been only 32 cases of Naegleria fowleri between 2001 and 2010 in the US, and most of those cases have been seen in the Southeast part of the country.   It is found in hot springs and warm fresh water and enters the body through the nose.  People who drink contaminated water are not at risk of infection.

According to Dr. Dirk Haselow with the Arkansas Department of Health, this infection is one of the worst kinds known at this time.  He has said that 99 percent of those that get it lose their lives to it.

The first signs of the infection show up between one and seven days after being infected and they include stiff neck, fever, vomiting, nausea, and a headache.  After the symptoms begin, the disease moves quickly and can cause death in about one to 12 days.  Later symptoms are loss of balance, hallucinations, seizures, lack of attention to surroundings and people and confusion.

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Written by Heather Nelson

Heather Nelson graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. She has an impressive portfolio as her works have been previously featured in several health journals and local newspapers in the Sunshine State. She takes health reporting to a new level with factual relation to what readers want and need to know . Having spent the last decade working all over the Internet as a freelancer writer, she is ecstatic that she has the opportunity to work with the Newhealthalert team to bring the best news, commentary, and information to the public on a global level.

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