A 12-year-old who has been fighting off a deadly brain-eating amoeba has recovered enough to be able to speak a few words.
Kali Hardig was diagnosed last month with an infection caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri, which is often fatal.
AP reports that before Kali's case, there was only one known survivor in the US, and one in Mexico, and says it is 'remarkable' that she is even alive, let alone able to communicate.
Kali is thought to have succumbed to the infection after a day out at a now-closed water park in Arkansas. Naegleria fowleri is said to be found in warm bodies of freshwater, and can enter the brain through the nose when people are swimming.
Once in the brain, the amoeba causes a 'devastating infection'.
Kali's cautiously optimistic mum told AP that her daughter is trying hard to talk to her family.
"She's not speaking normal, but she is doing wonderful trying to pronounce stuff," Kail's mum Traci said. "She can say 'yes' and 'no.' She's also been able to say 'Hi mama', ''daddy' and 'nanny'."
Kali's doctors say her recovery is mainly due to her having experimental drug treatment and early detection and diagnosis of the infection.
When her mum took her to Arkansas Children's Hospital on July 19, she believed she just had a bad fever. Doctors decided to cool her down to reduce her swelling, and after diagnosing what was wrong with her, won clearance to treat her with a breast-cancer medication.
Tests now show there is no evidence of the parasite in her system, but her doctor says she could still have long-term problems following her illness.
"It's still a concern that she could certainly have some deficits long-term and not function entirely as she would have if this had never happened," Dr. Vikki Stefans told AP. "She's up and participating in all her therapy, she's saying more, and things are basically looking good."
"She's got half the world praying for her, too, which can't hurt," Dr Stefans added.
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