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12-Year-Old Floridian Boy Suffers from Brain Eating Amoeba

Update Date: Aug 14, 2013 02:31 PM EDT

In less than one month, a dangerous and rare brain-eating amoeba has struck another 12-year-old. This time, the victim was a young boy from Florida named Zachary Reyna. Reyna, who loves being active outdoors had gone knee boarding with his friends by a water ditch near his home back on August 3. With in a day after the excursion at the ditch, Reyna had started falling ill.

Reyna's condition was very similar to the brain-eating amoeba case in Arkansas. The brain-eating parasite, Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that thrives in warm, freshwater. It is not dangerous unless it enters the body usually through the nose where it then would travel up to the brain. Although this parasite is extremely rare, Reyna is the second case already this summer after 12-year-old Kali Hardig also contracted the amoeba. Hardig was swimming at a water park where officials believed she was infected.

In the following day after Reyna's trip to the water ditch, Reyna ended up sleeping the entire day. For his parents, it was very unusual because Reyna is normally a very active boy. Reyna's parents immediately brought him to the hospital where he underwent brain surgery. The doctors were then able to diagnose him with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. Reyna remains in the intensive care unit at the Miami Children's hospital.

"Doctors are saying things have not changed. We are still strong on our end because we know God will step in when He is ready. Keep praying. I feel this is much bigger than my Zac," Zachary's parents wrote on their Facebook page.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Reyna will receive the same experimental drug that was used on Hardig. Hardig is now responsive and awake, making her the third survivor out of 128-recorded cases within the past half-century. It is unsure whether or not Reyna will respond positively as well. In the meantime his family and doctors will have to watch and supervise his condition. This parasite is fatal the majority of the time and is considered one of the deadliest infections to be discovered. The CDC calculated that there was only 32 reported cases from 2001 to 2010. 

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