12-year-old Girl Struggles to Survive After Contracting Brain-Eating Parasite

12-year-old Girl Struggles to Survive After Contracting Brain-Eating Parasite

The American girl from Arkansas, Kali Hardig, likely contracted the rare form of parasitic meningitis from swimming at the Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Ark.; she was admitted to the hospital just a day after swimming in the water park, according to 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," Hardig's mother, Traci, told The Christian Post.

Currently the girl is being treated at the Children's Hospital in Little Rock. Reportedly  she has been put  in a medically induced coma.

The Arkansas Department of Health released a statement regarding Hardig's case, explaining that the amoeba that caused her particular kind of meningitis, called Naegleria fowleri, can be found in warm streams, rivers and lakes, as well as soil. Naegleria fowleri isn't transmitted between humans; it's usually contracted by entering in through the nose of humans while they are in the water.

The state epidemiologist stated that signs of infection begin anywhere from one to seven days after a person has contracted it, and include headache, nausea and vomiting, or fever. Symptoms may progress on to seizures, hallucinations, balance problems and stiff neck.

The condition is usually fatal, with only two people known to have survived it in North America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Willow Springs Water Park is now closed; it was linked with another case of parasitic amebic meningoencephalitis in 2010. 

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