Florida boy battling rare brain infection caused by amoeba
LABELLE, Fla. — Health officials in Florida said on Tuesday that a 12-year-old boy is fighting a rare and deadly infection that is attacking his brain.
Family members told media outlets that Zachary Reyna of Southwest Florida was infected with Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled living amoeba that is commonly found in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers.
It can cause a rare brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis that destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal, the Florida Department of Health said in a news release. State officials confirmed the boy is battling the disease.
“The effects of PAM on the individuals who contract the amoeba are tragic,” said Dr. Carina Blackmore, Florida's interim state epidemiologist. “We want to remind Floridians to be wary when swimming, jumping or diving in fresh water when water temperatures are high and water levels are low. If you are partaking in recreational swimming activities during this time, please take necessary precautions and remind your family and friends to do the same.”
Infections from the amoeba are rare.
Florida officials cited federal statistics showing that 28 infections were reported in the United States from 2003 to 2012, mostly from exposure to contaminated recreational water. A person cannot be infected with the amoeba by drinking contaminated water, state officials said, and the amoeba is not found in salt water.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Accused Kennedy killer’s casket must go to brother, judge rules
- Hillary Clinton’s charter jet costs scrutinized
- Judge expresses doubt about constitutionality of no-fly list
- Colorado to clarify benefit limits over concern welfare, food stamps used to buy legal pot
- ‘Drink of the Devil’ unites formerly feuding families
- Parody a point of racial division
- Chris Kyle Day declared in Texas to honor SEAL of ‘American Sniper’ movie fame
- Prospective juror in Tsarnaev trial cites sympathy for suspect in Boston Marathon bombing
- Ohio delays all 2015 executions
- Whitney Houston’s daughter found unresponsive in bathtub
- Large pipelines proposed to carry gas from shale formations