Atlanta (CBS Atlanta) — An Arkansas 12-year-old girl has been confirmed to have the first known case of parasitic meningitis in years.
The Arkansas Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that Kali Hardig has the disease known medically as primary amebic meningoencephalitis. The parasitic meningitis is caused by brain-eating amoeba and can be fatal.
The amoeba are known to be found in warmer freshwater, soil and unclean swimming pools. The amoeba can enter through the nose and move to the brain, often causing death.
Hardig’s mother, Traci, rushed her daughter to the hospital after the girl had been swimming in a local lake for the day.
“They call her stable for the moment, just got to ride out all the inflammation, all the side effects that the meningitis caused,” Hardig told the Christian Post. “I couldn’t get her fever down. She started vomiting…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.”
The Arkansas Department of Health has begun what they are calling an “ongoing investigation” into Hardig’s case. Willow Springs Water Park was closed to keep the disease from spreading because the 2010 case that occurred was possibly in connection with the park as well.