It’s a heart wrenching thought to imagine that Zachary’s house is devoid of his gurgling giggles! No more does The Florida based Zachary boisterously march into his seventh grade class. He just can’t because he is battling for his life against a brain infection that is gnawing into his brain!

Zachary in cluthes

The thought saddens that 12 year old Zachary Reyna, has been lying in the hospital for the last 2 weeks trying to combat against a severe infection that is eating into his brain.

It all started when Zachary had been knee boarding one day in a ditch full of water. He was enjoying himself by indulging in this sport akin to water skiing, near his home. But he wasn’t alone; he had two of his friends playing with him. Fate overruled and they came back unscathed from the “fun-time” and Zachary landed up in Miami Children’s hospital.

Parasitic amoeba causes amoebic meningoencephalitis

He was caught in the clutches of an amoeba called the Naegleria fowleri and developed a medical condition called the primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. This parasitic amoeba lives in fresh and warm water and gets into the body via the nose, straight to the brain and then starts to eat into it. Underwater sports like head dunking, diving and swimming carried out in contaminated water leads to the amoeba travelling through the nose right up to the brain.

Zachary’s latest updates are being posted regularly by the relatives on the facebook page, Pray4Number4.

Talking about the amoeba living in the fresh water, Diane Holm, a Health spokeswoman, from Florida Department stated “In Florida, the months of July, August and September are the warmest, so any standing fresh water is going to be warm and have the potential to host Naegleria fowleri”. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics are not very promising and have put forth results collected since 1942 that shows that out of the 128 people diagnosed with the condition in the US only 1 has survived.

Two weeks before Zachary caught the brain infection, another child, 12 year old Kali Hardig, belonging to Benton, Ark., caught this parasitic infection from the brain-eating amoeba July 19 .
Along with the antibiotics and antifungal medicines, the hospital with the CDC is using an experimental anti-amoeba drug the same given to Kali Hardig.

According to Holm, “Millions of people enjoy fresh recreational water every year without contracting this infection. It is a highly unusual infection.”

Precautions

You can prevent this tragedy from happening by taking just a few precautions like:

1) Keep the head above the water or use nose clips, while indulging in water sports organized in warm water
2) There is no harm from staying away from underwater sports when the temperature is very high and the level of the water low.
3) Do not poke into the sand under the fresh water areas. This may rake up the sediments and release the sleeping organisms.
4) The untreated thermal waters and the hot springs are not the best place to dunk your head under.

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