TODAY

TODAY   |  August 15, 2013

Two kids contract rare ‘brain-eating amoeba’

Doctors in Little Rock and Miami are rushing to save the lives of two children who have contracted a rare and deadly infection they’re calling a ‘brain-eating amoeba’ that can destroy brain tissue. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> doctors in two states are working feverishly this morning to save two children who are battling a almost always deadly illness.

>> this is a parasite found in nature. but every once in a while , it can go into the brain and destroy brain tissue .

>> a 12-year-old boy is fighting for his life in miami children's hospital, and kaylee harding who is battling over 1,000 miles away . they have primary amebic -- calmed p.a.m. there have only bun 128 confirmed cases in the united states , and it is almost 100% fatal. only one person has ever survived. so doctors took notice when in the last month, two cases suddenly appears.

>> your stomach just dropped, it has over the 99% mortality.

>> it is commonly found in fresh water lakes. zack was in a ditch, kaylee was in a water park . zachary's family remains hopeful.

>> he is fighting. she strong, really, really strong.

>> for the doctors, this is uncharted territory.

>> we're pulling out all of the stops and doing everything we can in the hope that you a chance to save the patient.

>> nancy, what is striking is how these two doctors in two states are working together to save these children.

>> when these things happen, savannah, doctors share information, see who is doing what. when care cases happen, there is not much of a protocol to follow. so kaylee is on an experimental drug and they lowered her body temperature, but they're also battling time. hour by hour they will be in touch and they're going to keep swapping information to figure this one out.

>> nancy schniderman, thank you very much.