Human Cases

            Since the disease PAM is so rare it is extremely hard for new discoveries concerning Naeglaria fowleri to be made and tested.   This in turn makes treating this disease nearly impossible and often unsuccessful.  By the time a diagnoses is given it is usually too late for the patient due to how fast the organism develops and starts affecting the brain and the central nervous system (Yoder et al. 2010).  In fact in most cases the prognosis is often made after death because this illness progresses so rapidly (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).  So when one of these few cases is beat it becomes a world-wide news story of hope and possibility, as well as making PAM a little bit better known. 

            There have been two cases (one in California and one in Mexico) were the patients were treated with amphotericin B and other chemicals and survived.  Although their survival was thought to be linked to the strain because in both cases it was not as strong and large as normal, therefore it did not destroy the cells as fast, leaving time for a prognosis and treatment.  In both of these situations the patient’s condition did not improve or get worse for roughly three days.  They were also both monitored for weeks (close to a month) after that before they were allowed to leave the hospital and had regular check-ups after that.  The method practiced in these two cases was used on multiple other cases and was unsuccessful most likely because the patients’ exhibited a much stronger strain of N. fowleri or the disease was much further developed (Seidel, 1982).

            Kali Hardig is a twelve year old girl who was infected by N. fowleri this past July after swimming in a local Arkansas waterpark that is located on a lake.  The owners of this lake claim that they won’t reopen this park until a cement bottom can be put in to make it so it can be treated with chlorine, which will make it safer to swim in (ABC News, 2013).  After a swimming trip her mother noticed the symptoms and took her to the ER and made the doctors run tests claiming that this was not an ordinary sickness.  After many weeks of being in the intensive care unit and undergoing tests that used a drug that had to be given special permission from the Food and Drug Administration, Kali showed great improvement.  In a news interview she was granted special permission by the hospital to go out for a family dinner to Texas Roadhouse (ABC News, 2013).  As of September Kali was able to take a few steps by herself and was looking forward to starting school part-time and hoping to slowly grow back into her old life as a twelve year old.  Kali is only the third known person out of 128 cases to survive this disease in the last 50 years in the United States.  This goes to show how rare PAM is and how much is unknown about it.  Yet it gives hope that advancements can be made and surviving PAM is possible.  Doctors continue to monitor Kali as she makes a slow but hopeful recovery and they aim to gain more useful information regarding this organism and the drug that was used to treat Kali with hopes of making it useful to other patients in similar situations (ABC News, 2013).

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