Organs of Boy Who Battled Brain-Eating Infection Donated: Family

Family of Zachary Reyna says he is living on by donating organs

The family of a 12-year-old Florida boy who spent weeks battling a rare brain-eating infection at Miami Children's Hospital said his organs have been donated.

In a posting on Pray4Number4, the Facebook page for the family of Zachary Reyna, the family thanked their supporters for all their prayers.

"Tonight at 10:13PM, Zachary Cole Reyna began his journey to save lives. Zac donated all his organs to others that were waiting on a miracle," the Monday night posting said. "Through donating his organs, Zac is living on. His heart will be pumping for someone, his lungs will be taking breaths for someone and all his other organs will change the lives of many."

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Earlier Monday, family and friends said their final goodbyes to Zachary as he remained on a ventilator at the hospital. Reyna had spent weeks fighting the infection known as PAM, or primary amebic meningoencephalitis, before his family announced Saturday that he had passed.

"Zac is our miracle. His strong spirit will always be among us," the recent Facebook post read. "He changed all of our lives, brought us closer to God, strengthened our family and his story has touched people around the world."

His family said Zachary had been knee boarding in a water-filled ditch near his home before he became very ill earlier this month. He was transferred to Miami Children's Hospital after being admitted to a hospital in Glades County.

The brain-eating amoeba that causes the infection is commonly found in warm fresh water such as lakes, rivers, canals and ponds. The peak season runs from July through September.

The amoeba can enter through the nose and 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. The infections are more likely in Southern states but are extremely rare.

On Wednesday, family members said antibiotics had defeated the infection but on Saturday, doctors found no brain activity.

Funeral arrangement have yet to be made, the family said.

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