Brain Eating Parasite Kills Florida Boy Zachary Reyna, 12: 5 Things To Know About The Deadly Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba [VIDEO]

By Danny Choy on August 26, 2013 10:29 AM EDT

brain eating amoeba
A brain eating amoeba has killed 12-year-old Zachary Reyna, a Florida boy who contracted the disease while playing in a water-filled ditch. (Photo: Facebook/pray4number4)

A brain eating parasite has killed 12-year-old Zachary Reyna of Florida. The Reyna family announced the sad news on a Facebook page on Saturday to inform Zachary's supporters. Zachary Reyna was diagnosed with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

According to CNN affiliate WBBH, Zachary Reyna was an active boy. On August 3, Reyna went knee boarding with friends in a water-filled ditch by his house. The following day, Reyna slept all day, a symptom of infection by the brain eating parasite.

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"We said, 'Oh, he just has a virus. He just has one of those 24-hour viruses,'" Zachary's brother, Brandon Villarreal, told Fox News. "He slept all day, all night, and that's when my mom was like, 'Okay, something's not right.'"

Doctors discovered Zachary Reyna was infected with a rare brain eating parasite known as the Naegleria fowleri amoeba. According to medical specialists, only three people managed to survive after they were infected with Naegleria fowleri.

"This infection is one of the most severe infections that we know of," Dr. Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health told CNN affiliate WMC about the brain eating parasite. "Ninety-nine percent of people who get it die."

Earlier this month, CNN reported that 12-year-old Kali Hardig of Arkansas was also infected with the brain eating parasite Naegleria fowleri. Miraculously, Hardig managed to survive after she was treated with an experimental anti-amoeba drug that doctors requested directly from the CDC. Doctors treating Zachery Reyna also tried to apply the same treatment to remove the brain eating parasite. Unfortunately, the treatment could not save Reyna's life.

"the battle is over for Zac but he won the war," posted Zachery Reyna's family after he died Saturday afternoon. Although Zachery Reyna lost to the brain eating parasite, the 12-year-old of Florida is a hero for many as his organs will be donated to those in need.

"Even though Zac has passed, he will still be saving many lives."

Here are five things to know about the brain eating parasite Naegleria fowleri:

1. Naegleria fowleri, the brain eating parasite, is an amoeba that invades and attacks the human nervous system.

2. The face fatality rate of Naegleria fowleri is 98 percent. It is extremely deadly.

3. The amoeba enters through the nose and travels to the brain. There is no danger of Naegleria fowleri from drinking contaminated water.

4. The brain eating parasite is typically found in warm bodies of fresh water all over the world, such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and hot springs. It is also found in soil, near warm-water discharges of industrial plants, incidents have been reported in Czecholslovakia, New Zealand, Pakistan, United Kingdom, and the United States.

5. Initial symptoms caused by the brain eating parasite include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck. Later symptoms may include loss of balance, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, and hallucinations.

READ MORE:

Brain Eating Parasite Kills Florida Boy Zachary Reyna, 12: 5 Things To Know About The Deadly Naegleria Fowleri Amoeba [VIDEO] 
Parasitic Meningitis: Rare 'Brain-Eating Amoeba' Infects 12-Year-Old Girl In Arkansas

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