12-year-old Kali Hardig fought and won a hard battle with a brain eating amoeba so deadly, only two other people have survived in the last 50 years.
CNN reports that the 12 year old Arkansas native returned home Wednesday Sep 11th after almost two months of fighting the parasitic infection in hospital.
While jubilant at being able to return home, Kali has a long way to go to completely recover from her ordeal. She has been and will continue to undergo rehab and can only take a few steps on her own.
That’s not stopping her though as Monday morning she will return to school, at least part time. Half her day will be spent in class, the other in physical and speech therapy sessions.
In July, Kali contracted parasitic meningitis while visiting a water park. What she caught wasn’t your ordinary type of virus. It was a rare infection that has better than a 99% mortality rate. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports just two survivors out of 128 known cases.
According to the CNN report, Dr. Sanjiv Pasala, one of Kali’s attending physicians, said doctors immediately started treating her with an anti-fungal medicine, antibiotics and a new experimental anti-amoeba drug doctors got directly from the CDC. They also reduced the girl’s body temperature to 93 degrees. Doctors have used that technique in some brain injury cases to preserve undamaged brain tissue.
Kali was not alone in her fight as a second 12 year old also contracted the deadly amoeba. Sadly that Florida boy succumbed to the parasite even though he received the same experimental drug given to Kali.
Kali contracted her infection at a water park, while the other boy contracted it while knee boarding in a water filled ditch. Naegleria fowleri is most often found in the southeastern United States , typically in hot springs and around warm fresh water.
The amoeba enters your system through your nose and travels to your brain, but cannot infect you if you drink infected water.
Symptoms appear within seven days of infection and can include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck the CDC reports. The CDC website also states initial symptoms are followed by more severe ones, like confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures and hallucinations.