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Latino Daily News

Tuesday August 27, 2013

Family of Zachary Reyna Who Died of Amoeba Eating Brian Disease Donates Organs

Family of Zachary Reyna Who Died of Amoeba Eating Brian Disease Donates Organs

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Zachary Reyna will live on and “began his journey to save lives” today when his family announced the 12-year-olds’ organs were being donated. 

Reyna of LaBelle, Florida died from the rare and deadly brain-eating amoeba after playing in a canal near his home.  The amoeba travels from the contaminated water up through the nose and into the brain.  The disease is almost certainly deadly with only three cases of survival reported in the past 50 years.  Most recently 12-year-old Kali Hardig survived the amoeba infection this summer though she remains hospitalized.  One survival case has been reported in Mexico.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 cases have been reported in the U.S. since 1962.

The Latino child was infected on August 3 and taken off of life support this past weekend when no viable brain activity could be detected.  It was just on Wednesday that the family said the amoeba was gone but it had apparently done too much damage to the youngster’s brain.  Reyna was being treated at Miami Children’s Hospital.

The formal name of this fatal brain-eating amoeba is amebic meningoencephalitis  that lives in warm freshwater lakes and rivers, especially in the southern region of the country.  Typically the amoeba enters its victim’s bodies through their noses when they ingest the contaminated water.  Symptoms develop within seven days of contact with the deadly amoeba. 

Families are urged to avoid contact with low water levels in high temperatures – the ideal breeding ground for the amoeba.  Not everyone who swims in amoeba-containing water gets the fatal infection, the majority do not get infected.