A day after swimming in a local Arkansas lake, Traci Hardig rushed her daughter, Kali, to the hospital. After inducing a coma to stabilize the 12-year-old, they discovered she had contracted a brain eating amoeba.
“I couldn’t get her fever down. She started vomiting,” Hardig told the Christian Post. “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.”
Doctors were surprised to discover she had contracted parasitic meningitis, a rare and deadly disease caused by a brain-eating amoeba, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arkansas Department of Public Health. This is the first case diagnosed in years.
Its cause is the amoeba Naegleria fowleri and is typically found in freshwater or soil. It enters the human body through the nose, where it then moves to the brain, typically causing death.
The Arkansas Department of Health closed down Willow Springs Water Park in Arkansas, where they believe she came in contact with parasitic meningitis. Medical Daily is reporting that a case in 2010 may have been connected to the same park.
The park’s owners, David and Lou Ann Ratliff, said in a statement:
“We[…] have received new information regarding Naegleria fowleri, and have elected to close the park as of July 25 at the request of the Arkansas Department of Health. Though the odds of contracting Naegleria are extremely low, they are just not good enough to allow our friends or family to swim. 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.”
Doctors are hopeful, thanks to a timely diagnosis, that Kali will recover after the 12-year-old contracted a brain eating amoeba.
Alfred James reporting