HEALTH

Kali Harding suffering from parasitic meningitis after swimming in lake

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A 12-year-old Arkansas girl is fighting for her life after contracting a rare form of meningitis after swimming at a water park.

Kali Hardig is comatose while suffering from parasitic meningitis. Photo: CNN

Officials say that Kali Hardig is suffering from parasitic meningitis - a rare infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba - after getting in the water at the Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock.

Just 31 people have been diagnosed with parasitic meningitis in the past decade. The Centers for Disease Control says all 31 people died.

The CDC says that the parasite affecting Kali, called naegleria, is prone to live in warm water, lakes, rivers and hot springs. She has been placed into a coma in an attempt to stabilize her condition.

"The amoeba then finds itself way back in our noses and then can work its way into our central nervous system, around our brains, and once it's there it just causes destruction," Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said.

The water park has been closed in the wake of Kali's illness.

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