Brain-Eating Amoeba Infects 12-Year-Old In Arkansas Water Park

A brain-eating amoeba has targeted 12-year-old Kali Hardig.

ABC News reported that the girl was in critical condition after being diagnosed with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which is known to be a rare form of meningitis brought on by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba.

She is said to have contracted the brain-eating amoeba at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Health noted.

The organism that causes the condition “is commonly found in warm freshwater and soil all over the world and can cause a rare but severe brain infection that is usually fatal,” the health department stated in a release.

The release continued: “Naegleria cannot be passed from person-to-person. The organism typically infects people by entering the body through the nose as they are swimming and diving. Individuals cannot be infected with Naegleria by swimming in properly cleaned, maintained and disinfected swimming pools.”

David and Lou Ann Ratliff, general management at Willow Springs, said on July 25 that after receiving new information regarding Naegleria fowleri, they would “close the park… at the request of the Arkansas Department of Health.”

“For the thousands of people who love Willow Springs, we will be taking this time to determine the feasibility of installing a solid bottom to the lake. We will not ever reopen as a sand bottom lake… We covet your prayers and our Willow Springs family will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers” the Ratliffs added.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, early symptoms of the condition can include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fever. Graduated symptoms may consist of stiff neck, confusion, seizures, loss of balance, and hallucinations. The disease moves fast after the initial symptoms set in and usually take a week at the most.

As such, anyone who swam at Willow Springs eight days ago or longer would be safe, the health department said.

The Inquisitr first reported on this incident on July 26. Since that time, Kali Hardig’s mother Traci described some of her daughter’s ordeal in comments reported by Medical Daily.

“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.”

Traci continued: “They call her stable for the moment, just got to ride out all the inflammation, all the side effects that the meningitis caused.”

Kali Hardig is in a medically induced coma.

In June, health officials also warned Florida swimmers to be on the lookout for this same brain-eating amoeba.

Does the presence of this brain-eating amoeba in the US have you reconsidering swimming in natural bodies of water this summer?

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]