LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A 12-year-old Arkansas girl who has been battling a rare and often-fatal infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba is now able to say a few words.
Kali (KAY’-lee) Hardig was diagnosed last month with an infection caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER’-ee-uh FOW’-lur-ee).
Health officials say there were 128 reported infections in the United States between 1962 and 2012. Before Kali, doctors could only point to one known survivor in the U.S. and another in Mexico.
Kali’s mother, Traci Hardig, says her daughter is able to say “Hi mama” and a few other words as she relearns how to speak.
Health officials believe Kali became sick after a trip to an Arkansas water park. The amoeba that caused her infection is often found in warm freshwater.