Girl, 12, Battles Brain-Eating Amoeba After Lake Swim
Kali Hardig in critical condition in Arkansas
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2013 8:23 AM CDT
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   (CDC)

(Newser) – Kali Hardig, 12, went swimming in a Little Rock, Ark., lake earlier this month—and, in a nightmare scenario, she's now battling a brain-eating parasite. Naegleria fowleri is a microscopic amoeba that gets to the brain through the nose, typically infecting people who go swimming in freshwater, CNN reports. But it's very rare and very deadly: "Ninety-nine percent of people who get it die," says a health department official with the state, which has seen just five confirmed cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis between 1962 and 2012.

CNN identifies a sandy-bottomed lake at Willow Springs Water Park as the likely source of Kali's infection. Another case was linked to the water park in 2010, and the department of health has asked the park to shut down; it complied. The girl's mom tells the Christian Post, "I couldn't get her fever down. She started vomiting. She'd say her head hurt really bad. She cried, and she would just look at me and her eyes would just kind of roll." Kali was admitted to the hospital on July 19 and put into a medically-induced coma. Her mom tells Fox 16 she wants to raise awareness of the importance of nose clips while swimming in rivers or lakes. She is confident Kali will beat the odds, but ABC News notes that just one of the 128 people infected with Naegleria fowleri in the US over the last five decades survived. (Swimming proved deadly for another girl—though for a much different reason—last week.)

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
HMD-SMD-ITY
Aug 7, 2013 8:21 PM CDT
Know a man who's son had this happen in a lake in Minnesota. The kid will never be normal. He will always need care of some kind until death. The best thing they figured out so far for him is to let him attend college in a kind of personalized degree program. Its like taking six years of 1000 level classes and then graduating. But so far, he's been in college eight years. Well, the college doesn't mind that he likes it there and he's not getting into any trouble. If he keeps it up, he may win Guinness record for longest attending student.
People_Suck
Jul 31, 2013 9:18 PM CDT
This has happened here in Florida a couple times and I remember a case in AZ 40 years ago when I was a kid. One thing NOT to do when swimming in fresh water is stir up the bottom. It is where the amoeba lives.
Gsancheezy
Jul 30, 2013 11:23 AM CDT
Everybody, take a deep breath...close your eyes...think "kali, get well" and hold that thought for a second. It will help Quantum gravity is non-dimensional and your brain's hollow neuron microtubules generate waves of gravity. She'll be affected by your thoughts of her. I created a quantum political movement around this possibility and 7000 people have been to the web site...30-50 a day by word of mouth: Heartvote