Kali Hardig: Girl Struck With Brain-Eating Amoeba Cleared To Return To School

Kali Hardig has won her fight with a brain-eating amoeba, and the Arkansas girl is now on her way back to school.

The girl was struck in July with paraitic meningitis after a brain-eating parasite known as Naegleria fowleri entered her nose during a swimming trip. Though only two people were known to have survived the parasite, Kali was able to withstand the worst of brain swelling while doctors fought off the parasite.

They used an experimental drug called miltefosine but wouldn't say if the drug was responsible for the unlikely recovery.

"I think the miracle happened in multiple small doses in the last 55 days," said Dr. Matt Linam.

Now, after relentless therapy sessions to get back her physical and mental condition, Kali has been cleared to return to school part time.

"Monday we plan for Kali to go back to school from nine until noon and hopefully go back to school during that time of three hours," said Dr. Esther Tompkins.

It's believed that Hardig contracted the parasite while swimming in a lake at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, where there was a previous instance of Naegleria fowleri in 2010.

The CDC explains that the parasite is nearly always fatal.

"After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days… People should seek medical care immediately whenever they develop a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck and vomiting, particularly if they have been in warm freshwater recently."

Another boy contracted Naegleria fowleri over the summer but wasn't so lucky. Florida boy Zachary Reyna fell ill after kneeboarding in a freshwater ditch, and later died of the illness.

Though she still has a lot of recovery to go, the 12-year-old Kali realizes just how fortunate she is.

"I'm lucky to be alive," said Kali Hardig.