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Anyone thinking of going for a swim in Florida is advised to think twice. The Florida Department of Health is warning swimmers to avoid warm, shallow waters after 12-year-old Zachary Reyna came in contact with a rare parasite.
Reyna's mother thought it odd that her normally energetic son was so exhausted after a day of playing in a ditch near their home. She later took him to the hospital where surgeons operated on his brain and found the amoeba.
Otherwise known as the Naegleria fowleri, once contracted, it eats away at brain tissue and most always results in fatality, according to UPI.
This microscopic threat is linked with an increase in temperatures, more commonly in between July and September. Dr. Carina Blackmore tells The Inquisitr that the risk of infection is small, but serious.
"The effects of PAM on the individuals who contract the amoeba are tragic...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," she says. "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.”
Zachary's family is deriving hope from a similar case involving 12-year-old Kali Harding. The Arkansas girl contracted the parasite some weeks ago, but has since had a positive response to an experimental anti-amoeba drug. Zachary's doctors have obtained the drug.
It has been reported that in 2012, there were 128 known cases of this harmful amoeba, and only two survivors. The infection can be detected within seven days. Fatalities can occur within 12.
Image: Wikimedia Commons