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Kali Hardig continues recovery from brain-eating amoeba; experimental drug being used

11:54 AM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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Kali Hardig

 


 


Little, Rock, Ark. -- A 12-year-old Arkansas girl is continuing to improve as she battles a rare infection. 

Kali Hardig was listed in fair condition Tuesday evening at Arkansas Children's hospital as she continues to recover from parasitic meningitis, brought on by a "brain-eating" amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri. She's only the third person in the world to survive it. 

Health officials believe Kali contracted it from a local water park, which has since closed.

Doctors believe an experimental drug helped Kali fight off the infection. First, Kali's doctors induced a coma and cooled her body to 93 degrees in order to preserve brain tissue. They then got the experimental anti-amoeba drug from the Centers for Disease Control, although they were unsure if it would work.

There's now no trace of the amoeba in Kali's spinal fluid. As her condition improved, Kali was taken out of the coma.

"Day by day, she's showing slow improvement and we're all very optimistic," says Dr. Sanjiv Pasala.

Meanwhile, a second child caught the rare infection in Florida.  Zachary Reyna, also 12, contracted the disease while knee-boarding in a fresh water ditch near his home. 

See Also: Dangerous amoeba lurks in lakes, ponds

The CDC has sent the same experimental drug to doctors in Miami to help treat Zachary.

High water temperatures, low water levels are the ideal breeding ground for this brain-eating amoeba. Health officials in Florida now issuing this warning: "to be wary when swimming, jumping or diving in fresh water" with these conditions.

Contributing: KTHV and CNN

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