South FL Boy With Brain-Eating Amoeba Deemed Brain Dead

By: WTSP, Associated Press Release Email
By: WTSP, Associated Press Release Email
A post on the Facebook page the family set up said his parents planned to donate his organs.

Source | WTSP

Associated Press Release

MIAMI (AP) -- Family members of a 12-year-old boy who was infected by a rare and deadly amoeba say he's on a ventilator.

Zachary Reyna has fought the brain infection for months. Family members say he was infected while knee boarding with friends in a ditch near his family's LaBelle home on Aug. 3.

His uncle, Homer Villarreal, says doctors say his brain isn't showing any activity.

Family members and friends were visiting Reyna on Sunday at Miami Children's Hospital.

A post on the Facebook page the family set up said his parents planned to donate his organs.

Infections from the amoeba are rare. Twenty-eight infections were reported in the U.S. from 2003 to 2012


CBS News Copy/WTSP

LaBelle, Florida (News-Press) -- The father of a 12-year-old Florida boy battling a brain-eating amoeba says the treatment has defeated the infection.

"We were told this morning that the antibiotics have defeated the infection. Tests showed negative activity from the amoeba." Zachary Reyna's father wrote on a Facebook page titled "Pray4Number4" dedicated to the little league baseball player.

Zachary has been hospitalized since Sunday, Aug. 4 after contracting the infection, known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, or PAM, while knee-boarding in a water-filled ditch near his family's home.

The infection destroys brain tissue and is almost always lethal – the fatality rate is more than 99 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 1 of 128 individuals with the infection in the U.S. in the past 50 years has survived; and one in Mexico survived.

"This is a small victory but we know the battle is not over." the statement from Zachary's father says. "Extensive damage was done to his brain and we need to pray for any form of activity to come from his brain. "

Kali Hardig, a 12-year-old Arkansas girl, is recovering after being hospitalized with the infection in July. She is going through physical therapy, tossing a ball to a physical therapist, moving her legs and saying hi to her mom.

Use of an experimental breast cancer drug and the dramatic drop in body temperature helped make Kali the third survivor of the infection. Her doctors and family have been communicating with Zachary's doctors and family.


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