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Parasitic Meningitis; Brain Eating Amoeba Confirmed In 12 Year Old Arkansas Girl 'She Would Just Look At Me And Her Eyes Would Kind Of Roll' (VIDEO)

By Rebekah Marcarelli r.marcarelli@hngn.com | Jul 26, 2013 05:01 PM EDT

Meningitis is often contracted in still or slow-moving water.
Meningitis is often contracted in still or slow-moving water. (Photo : CDC)

A rare case of parasitic meningitis was confirmed in Arkansas in a 12-year-old girl.

Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, also known as parasitic meningitis, was also found in the state in 2010, TVH 11 reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the case was caused by the rare bacteria.

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Parasitic Meningitis is almost always deadly, and is usually caught by swimming in freshwater lakes or rivers.

"Hip little, sweet little Kali here, to my princess Kali," Traci Hardig, the girl who contracted the illness, said. "She lights up a room when she walks in. Everybody loves her smile."

The first symptoms of the illness include: pain in the front of the head, "fever, nausea, and vomiting," the CDC reported.

When Parasitic Meningitis reaches stage two it often causes: "stiff neck, seizures, altered mental states, hallucinations, and coma."

"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," Hardig said, according to TVH 11.

Kali is currently in 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.

Before falling ill, Kali swam in an undisclosed lake. The owner of Willow Springs water park in Little Rock told TVH 11 water testing had been conducted, but the results had not yet been returned.

Hardig knows what it's like to fight a deadly disease, she beat breast cancer in 2005.

"I tell [Kali] to fight like mom all the time when I get up close to her," Hardig said. "On Friday, I was told Kali wasn't going to make it through Sunday and look."

The parasite responsible for the illness is called Naegleria fowleri and is"commonly referred to as the brain-eating amoeba," the CDC reported.

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