Kali Hardig, girl who survived brain-eating amoeba, released from hospital

1:12 PM, Sep 11, 2013   |    comments
Kali Hardig
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A 12-year-old girl who survived a rare and deadly infection was released from the Arkansas Children's Hospital on Wednesday.

Kali Hardig is only the third person known to ever survive primary amebic meningoencephalitis, which is a condition brought on by a "brain-eating" amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.

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.

During a press conference Wednesday, Kali said she is excited at the prospect of playing with her dog when she gets home and will return to school Monday on a part-time basis. She will visit her classmates for the first time this Friday.

When asked her advice to all children Kali said, "Use nose plugs when you swim at water parks."

Two other children also contracted the parasitic this summer, including 12-year-old Zachary Reyna of Florida. Neither child survived.

High water temperatures and low water levels are the ideal breeding ground for 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.

See Also: Dangerous amoeba lurks in lakes, ponds

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