LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 21, 2013)—Kali Hardig, a 12-year-old Arkansas girl who’s battling a rare and often-fatal infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba, is now able to speak, doctors say.
Kali was diagnosed last month with an infection caused by an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.
Health officials say there have been 128 reported infections in the United States since 1962.
Before Kali’s case, doctors could only point to one known survivor in the U.S. and another in Mexico.
One of Kali's doctors, Dr. Vikki Stefans, said this week that Kali can now say a few words.
Stefans said she also watched Kali take a few steps.
Health officials say they believe Kali became sick after a trip to an Arkansas water park.
The amoeba that caused her infection is often found in warm freshwater.
Meanwhile, a 12-year-old Florida boy infected by the same amoeba no longer has the infection, but has suffered extensive brain damage, according to a Facebook page set up for the youngster, Zachary Reyna.
Family members said Reyna was infected while knee boarding with friends in a ditch on Aug. 3 near his family's home in southwest Florida.
He is being treated at Miami Children's Hospital.