Karachi health officials are reporting the 13th fatality this year from the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri in Sindh province. The latest victim, a 27-year-old Karachi resident, was admitted to Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Centre two days ago where upon admission doctors called his condition “precarious”.

brain eating amoeba
Naegleria fowleri

The report on this case, like the others reported this year, does not say how the victim contracted the deadly parasite.

During the summer of 2012, this area of Pakistan reported 10 Naegleria deaths.

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), is a disease of the central nervous system. PAM is caused by Naegleria fowleri, a free-living ameba. It is a rare disease that is almost always fatal.

Humans become infected when water containing Naegleria fowleri enters the nose and the ameba migrates to the brain along the olfactory nerve. People do not become infected from drinking contaminated water. Symptoms start 1-7 days (median 5 days) after swimming or other nasal exposure to Naegleria-containing water. People die 1-12 days (median 5.3 days) after symptoms begin. PAM is difficult to detect because the disease progresses rapidly so that diagnosis is usually made after death.