A 12-year-old girl who apparently contracted a deadly brain-eating amoeba while swimming at a water park in Little Rock is in critical condition in Arkansas Children’s Hospital, ABC News reports.
Willow Springs Water Park has closed its gates for the time being following the Kali Hardig’s diagnosis with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a usually fatal form of meningitis caused by the nasal inhalation of Naegleria floweri. The amoeba makes its home in warm standing water and freshwater sediment, like the kind found on the floor of Willow Springs’ sandy-bottom lake.
The park, which may be connected to another Naegleria infection in 2010, announced that the sandy-bottom lake will never reopen, although they are looking into the possibility of installing a solid bottom to the lake.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that of the 128 cases of Naegleria infection in the United States in the past fifty years, there has been only one survivor. Onset symptoms of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis include headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting, followed by stiffness in the neck, seizures, confusion, hallucinations. In most cases, death occurs within five days, according to the CDC.