Arkansas Girl, 12, Battles Brain-Eating Amoeba
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A 12-year-old girl in Arkansas is in critical condition after being infected by a rare but deadly brain-eating parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kali Hardig was admitted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital about eight days ago, according to a hospital spokesperson.
Her infection was caused by a microscopic amoeba called Naegleria fowleri, which enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain. It’s usually found in people who have been swimming in warm freshwater. You cannot be infected with the organism by drinking contaminated water, the CDC says.
The first symptoms appear one to seven days after infection by the amoeba, including headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck, according to the CDC. “Later symptoms include confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations,” the government agency’s website states. “After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within one to 12 days.”
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