Priority Health: Brain-eating amoebas
Health officials say a 12-
year-old southwest Florida boy is fighting a
rare infection that is attacking his brain.
Family members told media outlets that
Zachary Reyna contracted Naegleria fowleri
an amoeba that causes deadly brain
infections while knee boarding with some
friends in a ditch near his house in LaBelle on
He is being treated in the intensive care unit
at Miami Children's Hospital.
The single-celled organism is commonly
found in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers.
The illness is extremely rare. About 120 U.S.
cases have been reported since the amoeba
was identified in the early 1960s, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The victims typically are exposed
to the bug while swimming or doing water
sports in warm ponds or lakes.
Symptoms include headache, fever, stiff neck,
loss of appetite, vomiting, altered mental
state, seizures, and coma. There may also be
hallucinations, drooping eyelids, blurred
vision, and loss of the sense of taste.
How to protect yourself
Wear a nose clip when swimming, boating, or
playing in or on warm waters.