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Parasitic Meningitis Case In Benton, Arkansas

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A 12-year-old girl from Benton, Arkansas, Kali Hardig, is currently being treated with parasitic meningitis.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Primary amebic meningoencephalitis is a very rare form of parasitic meningitis that causes a fatal brain infection. The parasite enters the body through the nose and is caused by the microscopic ameba (a single-celled living organism) Naegleria fowleri.” The CDC website also states that, “This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. The Naegleria fowleri ameba travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue.” For more information you can visit http://www.cdc.gov/naegleria.

Candice Burns Hoffman with the CDC said there was also a reported case of this condition in Arkansas in 2010. The CDC has only confirmed five cases in the United States between 1962 and 2012.

“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,” said Traci Hardig, mother of the 12-year-old girl.

Hardig proceeded to bring her daughter to the Children’s Hospital last Friday, where the doctors told her that Kali was suffering from parasitic meningitis. The doctors then put Kali into a medically induced coma. “They call her stable for the moment, just got to ride out all the inflammation, all the side effects that the meningitis caused,” Hardig said. The CDC website states that “Several drugs are effective against Naegleria fowleri in the laboratory. However, their effectiveness is unclear since almost all infections have been fatal, even when people were treated.”

The Arkansas Department of Health has not confirmed in which lake the condition was contracted, the owner of Willow Springs water park in Little Rock, Arkansas reported that the health department had taken samples of its water. The health department has taken samples of the water from other sources as well. The results from these tests have not yet been returned.

Parasitic Meningitis Case In Benton, Arkansas


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  • David K

    So nobody knows where she’d been swimming?

  • Teresa

    I believe she had been swimming at Willow Springs water park, which I believe is also where the case in 2010 originated from. My prayers are with her and her family.

  • Hmm…

    Pray for this little girl. The Rosary goes a long way.

    • Brian

      The rosary goes real far the parents in PA proved that when they just let their second child die caused they believed that praying for him was better than medical attention.

  • GiGi

    Your article opened with this: A 12-year-old girl from Benton, Arkansas, Kali Hardig, is currently being treated with parasitic meningitis? The girl is being treated with this parasite, or is she being treated for this parasite? Does the writer of this article have below a fourth grade level education in basic English grammar? Does this website have an editor?

    • Denise

      Really? Most are focusing on the poor little girl in a coma. There is one of you at every job in every state. Glad to know who Little Rock has.

      Back to the importance of this. I hope the darling comes through ok. We all (or most of us) hurt when a child hurts….the rest just critique.

  • harbingerofdoom

    The drugs effectiveness is unclear huh? It would appear if they used the drugs and all the patients died, then their effectiveness would be unfavorable, obviously.

  • Win Belcher

    Our prayers are with this girl and her family. Although this particular “lake amoeba,” by the author’s report, states, “The CDC has only confirmed 5 cases in the U.S. between 1962 and 2012,” this is a somewhat deceptive quote. The word “confirmed” means exactly that–the CDC was able to confirm these cases. In Eastern Oklahoma, I know of at least this many cases by word of mouth, but not necessarily confirmed by the CDC. It is “common knowledge” among most “old timers” in this region of the country, that you should not going swimming in the lakes or bodies of “standing water” when “dog days” begin–which can begin as early as mid July and go all the way until the first frost hits and kills the amoebas. It is also said that if the body of water is not “standing” but “moving,” such as a creek or stream, then the amoebas don’t have the chance to grow and be in concentration in various zones, but our family is even more conservative and we avoid even swimming in “moving water.” Most Cherokees where I live have long known of these things, and a lesser number of rural white and black folk know this as well–but many urban dwellers seem to know quite a bit less about this. Certainly and unfortunately, I do not know of a single survivor as the parasite attacks the brain and, sorry to say this, actually “consumes” brain tissue–ultimately resulting in death after several days. I still am in prayer that there may be a different medical result here, that perhaps the medical team will be able to “think out of the box” and come up with an unorthodox but effective intervention.

    • marygold

      thank you for your interesting & informative post !
      I have read of 2 other cases in recent years, a California boy
      also 12 visiting texas, he was infected with the same amoeba &
      a lake or pond in a northern state Minn or Wisconsin that harbors this amoeba.

  • Ray

    There are herbs when mixed together can kill that can kill the parasite I hope they try everything possible, little angel you are in my prayers

  • jan

    She swam at Willow Springs Water Park…it is now closed!

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