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2013 Ozarks Lake Mystery

Ok, what's up with all of the drownings going on that I'm seeing on my local news stations?
Experienced divers are drowning? What??

Then recently, some boater disappeared just after launching his boat.
What is happing here in the Midwest?  Are our lakes this dangerous? What are they not telling us?

Missing Fisherman Found in Lake Jack Nolen (

Man Vacationing at Bull Shoals Lake Drowns While Scuba Diving (

Man Drowns at Beaver Lake, Friends Try CPR for an Hour (

Now, what about this story...things just keep getting weirder and weirder:

An Arkansas girl attacked by brain-eating amoeba while swimming in the lake, officials say

Kali Hardig, 12, is fighting for her life after she was attacked by parasite while swimming in Little Rock lake. Officials urge swimmers to take precautions.

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A 12-year-old Arkansas girl is fighting for her life after being attacked by a brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a lake, officials say.

Kali Hardig fell ill after swimming at a water park earlier this month in Little Rock, and was taken to the hospital by her mother.

"I couldn't get her fever down. She started vomiting," Traci Hardig told the Christian Post. "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."

Kali is battling primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a deadly disease caused by the amoeba.

Only one person out of 128 known cases in the U.S. has survived PAM, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Daily News on Tuesday. In the last 10 years, all 31 people who have contracted the disease have passed away. Twenty-eight of them were infected by recreational water and three others were infected while using contaminated tap water for nasal irrigation.

The amoeba, also known as Naegleria fowleri, "usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose," according to the CDC.

Magnified 500 times, this photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living, Naegleria fowleri, amebic infection. 


Magnified 500 times, this photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living, Naegleria fowleri, amebic infection. 

"Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal," The CDC says on its website. "Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers."

The first symptoms surface 1-7 days after the parasitic attack, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Kali has been put into a coma by doctors at Arkansas Children's hospital in an effort to stabilize her, according to CNN. The Willow Springs Water Park has been closed.

"Based on our ongoing investigation, the most likely source of infection is the Willow Springs Water Park," the Arkansas Department of Health said in a statement.

"There was another case of PAM possibly connected with Willow Springs in 2010. Based on the occurrence of two cases of this rare infection in association with the same body of water and the unique features of the park, the ADH has asked the owner of Willow Springs to voluntarily close the water park to ensure the health and safety of the public."
Earlier this year Florida officials warned swimmers to stay clear of stagnant water.

“Wear nose clips, hold your nose shut or keep your head out of the water when swimming, jumping or diving in any freshwater,” the Florida Department of Health said in a health alert. “Closing your nostrils may reduce your chance of becoming infected.”


Local swimming streams, floating rivers remain open after testing high for E. Coli bacteria  

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- High bacteria levels have been found in nearby lakes and swimming streams. Health officials say swimming there is at your own risk.

It's mainly because local lakes and streams you won't find any warning signs that there are high amounts of E. Coli in the water that could make you sick.  Even when it's been found, the areas will not be closed off to the public.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department voluntarily tests about five swimming streams and rivers and found high E. Coli in nearly all of them this week.  Access areas on the James River, Lake Springfield and at Wilson Creek tested high for the bacteria.    

Unlike state park beaches that are regulated by the state, local waters are not.  That's why officials with the health department say they do not have the authority to shut down access if there's a lot of bacteria.

Officials say there's no way to tell just by looking if you're swimming in E. Coli, but the bacteria can come from animal waste or sewage and can easily spread.

"If you are in the water for quite a while and then you get out and grab that sandwich and put it in your mouth, that is where the transmission can likely occur if there is a high level of bacteria in the water that day so what you really need to think about is washing your hands soap and water is always best, but an anti-bacterial solution is also very good," said Mike Brothers, a spokesman for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

If you do get sick, health officials say the symptoms are similar to a stomach virus or food poisoning.  They say the best way to avoid that is to do your research before you hit the water.

Bacteria levels can change daily.  The health department tests the waters once a week and posts the results online.  You can find those results by clicking here.

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