Arkansas girl, Kali Hardig making great progress in her recovery, What is this experimental anti-amoeba drug?

Aug. 7 Update: It was posted on Prayers For Kali Le Ann last night–“They took Kali off the vent! She is moving and responding to questions! We are fly high on every breath she takes! Keep the prayers coming!!!”

The news out of Arkansas about the condition of 12-year-old Kali Hardig has been remarkable to say the least. Approximately two weeks ago, Kali was diagnosed with the nearly 100% fatal “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri.

Kali Hardig Image/Prayers for Kali Le Ann Facebook page

Kali Hardig
Image/Prayers for Kali Le Ann Facebook page

Now it’s some two weeks later and Facebook posts by her mother demonstrate progress that most may not have expected.

Yesterday, Kali’s mom, Traci Hardig wrote, “It has been a very emotional couple days. Kali has reached for my hand, she has squeezed my hand, and she has moved her head. To a mom that has been through what I have the past two weeks. This has been the answer to my prayers.

“I feel so blessed to have my baby Kali still her and all the support we are getting from all our family and friends, also from total strangers! Please keep praying for my baby and I will keep the updates coming. Thanks again everyone for the out pour of love an support for Kali and our whole family!”

In addition, it is expected that soon she may be off the ventilator, “Kali is still on the vent the doctors want her to be a little stronger before they remove the vent,” Traci wrote on the Facebook page, Prayers For Kali Le Ann.

Doctors still list Kali in critical condition; however, what has occurred to date is simply incredible considering that prior to Kali’s case, 128 people have been diagnosed with this form of parasitic meningitis in the U.S. from 1962 to 2012, and only one person survived.

CDC expert, Dr. Jennifer Cope talks parasitic meningitis and Naegleria fowleri

Kali’s treatment was reported a combination of an antifungal medicine, antibiotics and a new experimental anti-amoeba drug doctors got directly from the CDC. They also reduced the girl’s body temperature to 93 degrees. Doctors have used that technique in some brain injury cases as a way to preserve undamaged brain tissue.

What is this experimental drug?

According to the CDC, they now have an investigational drug called miltefosine available for treatment of free-living ameba (FLA) infections caused by Naegleria fowleri, Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Acanthamoeba species.

Miltefosine is a breast cancer and anti-leishmania drug, which has shown some promise against the free-living amebae in combination with some other drugs.

The federal health agency says they now have a supply of miltefosine for treatment of Naegleria fowleri infection. If you have a patient with suspected Naegleria or other free-living ameba infection, please contact the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 to consult with a CDC expert regarding the use of this drug.

To offer your support and prayers to the Hardig family, “like” the Prayers For Kali Le Ann Facebook page.



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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Naegleria fowleri: Rapid treatment credited with saving Sebastian DeLeon’s life | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] Sebastian joins a short list of survivors of the lethal amoeba in the US, which include a case from 1978 and two from 2013. […]

  2. Charleston ‘brain-eating amoeba’ patient receives miltefosine from Orlando company | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] Miltefosine was used as part of the treatment for 2013 Arkansas N. fowleri survivor, Kali Hardig. […]

  3. The Top 10 Infectious Disease and Outbreak News stories of 2013 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] addition to her amazing recovery, the story brought the investigational drug, Miltefosine into the […]

  4. Kali Hardig’s condition continues to improve, expected to leave ICU tomorrow - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Arkansas girl, Kali Hardig making great progress in her recovery, What is this experimental anti-amo… […]

  5. Matt says:

    I would hazard a guess it is miltefosine; the CDC in the US recently ‘stockpiled’ some of this for this very condition.

    It appears it could be a much better drug than the ‘standard treatment’ amphotericin-B which in huge overdoses (which are needed to have a ‘chance’ against this disease) kills most of your organs at the same time, causing multi-organ failure and definitely kidney damage.

    Interestingly, the first-ever antipsychotic drug created, Chlorpromazine, which is off-patent and costs mere pennies, may be even better than miltefosine, as ‘in vitro’ as well as animal studies have shown already – and that drug is over 50 years old, tried and tested, and would be pretty safe in short-term usage (especially for a disease guaranteed to be fatal). Another antipsychotic, Prochlorperazine, better known these days as ‘Stemetil’ (for nausea) also have major amoebacidal properties (as well as killing the ‘cysts’ that it can form which are more resilient).

    Will keep hoping that Kali continues to improve; hopefully she got some Stemetil for nausea just in case there are any cysts. Really hope she is the third person to survive this, and that the ‘strain’ is the ‘normal’ strain and not a weakened one (which was responsible for one of the other cases). Will be interested to see what the drug turns out to be in the end, and hope that Kali goes down in the history as the first person to be successfully treated with the ‘normal’ strain of this disease.

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