Girl Contracts Brain-Eating Amoeba From Water Park

Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a deadly brain-eating parasite, has left 12-year-old Kali Hardig in critical condition at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, according to ABC News. It is believed that Kali acquired the rare form of meningitis from a sandy-bottom lake at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The parasite that causes this infection is an amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri. Though usually harmless, Naegleria, which thrives in warm, standing freshwater and the sediment of rivers and lakes, can cause fatal brain swelling if inhaled through the nose.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one person out of 128 infected with Naegleria fowleri in the United States between 1962 and 2012 has survived.

“After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website reads.

This is not the first time that Willow Springs Water Park has been linked to a Naegleria infection, having had a similar incident in 2010. After this latest occurrence, the 85-year-old water park has been closed while the owners take time to “determine the feasibility of installing a solid bottom to the lake.”

“Though the odds of contracting Naegleria are extremely low, they are just not good enough to allow our friends or family to swim,” said park owners David and Lou Ann Ratliff in a statement. “We will not reopen as a sand bottom lake.”

It is good that the Ratliffs are taking steps to make their park safer and to make sure this never happens again. However, if their negligence played a part in Kali’s infection, then they must be held accountable for the suffering they have caused her and her family. While bringing the Ratliffs to justice may not be able to save Kali, it could help prevent future injuries to children due to their negligence.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a personal injury, you deserve justice and may be entitled to compensation. For more information on premises liability or a free consultation with our national accident lawyer, call us today at (866) 377-3800.

[Did You Know?: From 1978-2008, reported recreational water illness outbreaks increased from as few as 5 in 1986 to as many as 84 in 2007.]

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