Boy succumbs to rare amoebic infection

Aug. 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

MIAMI, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old Florida boy was set to be taken off life support Sunday after battling a rare infection caused by an amoeba, officials said.

Zachary Reyna, of southwest Florida, was knee boarding in a ditch with his friends earlier this month when an amoeba traveled up his nose and into his brain, causing a rare infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, WSVN-TV, Miami, reported.

The infection, 128 cases of which have been reported in the last 50 years, has a one percent survival rate.

A posting on a Facebook page dedicated to the boy, dubbed Pray4Number4, said that the amoeba had been killed on Wednesday, but that it caused extensive damage to Zachary's brain. A message posted on the page Saturday evening read, "Zac's organs are very strong and his parents have decided to donate his organs to others in need. Even though Zac has passed, he will still be saving many lives."

Zachary's older brother, Brandon Villareal, said he wished he could trade places with his young brother. "I wish I could just touch him and it would transfer over or something," he said. "It doesn't work like that."

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