A 12-year-old southwest Florida boy, Zachary Reyna, is fighting a rare infection that is attacking his brain. His brother Brandon Villareal spoke about his brother's sickness.
Antibiotics administered to a 12-year-old Florida boy have defeated a rare brain-eating infection and now his family is praying for brain activity, Zachary Reyna's dad said Wednesday.
"Extensive damage was done to his brain and we need to pray for any form of activity to come from his brain. I feel like Zac was in a slump, all ball players go through them. We all do," said Jesse Reyna, through a Facebook page for the boy. "As his Dad and Coach I do all I can to help him get out of it by giving him extra training and making adjustments to his swing. We all go through tough times and we need to find God and prayer to get through theses slumps of life."
The family continues to hold hope and pray for the boy’s condition, a rare brain infection known as PAM, which stands for primary amebic meningoencephalitis. Tests showed negative activity from the amoeba, Jesse Reyna said.
"God has sent Zac an army of coaches and through prayers Zac is ready. He's ready to battle now. His slump is over. We will battle together with Zac and know that we are prepared for God's decision. A victory is coming. Zac I love you and I know you are doing your best. Leave it all on the field son. I'm proud of you. We all are," he wrote.
Zachary Reyna is in the intensive care unit after being transferred there from Glades County, where they believe the boy was infected with the amoeba.
His family says Zachary had been knee boarding in a water-filled ditch by his home. Then he became very ill.
The brain-eating amoeba that causes this infection is commonly found in warm fresh water such as lakes, rivers, canals and ponds. This is the middle of the peak season, which runs from July through September.
The amoeba can enter through the nose into the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2003 to 2012 there have been 31 reported cases of PAM. Of those, 28 have been linked to recreational water, three from nose irrigation with contaminated water. These infections are more likely in Southern states but are extremely rare.
Nevertheless the CDC says you should assume the amoeba is present in warm fresh bodies of water.
“Please pray for Zac and pray that God continues to give us strength these last few days of treatment,” Jesse Reyna wrote. “The enemy is trying to make us lose hope and we need your prayers.”