Pakistan Naegleria death tally at 11 after three cases reported in 24 hours - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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The total number of deaths due to the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri leapt to 11 after Karachi health authorities reported three additional cases during a 24-hour period.

Naegleria fowleri Life Cycle/CDC

Naegleria fowleri Life Cycle/CDC

In 2014, 14 Naegleria fowleri related deaths were reported in the province. Sindh Health Department officials say the lethal parasitic disease was first seen in Karachi nine years ago.

Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba”), is a microscopic amoeba which is a single-celled living organism. It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals.

Infections can happen when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the amoeba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM (which destroys brain tissue) and is usually fatal. Infections usually occur when it is hot for prolonged periods of time, which results in higher water temperatures and lower water levels.

Naegleria fowleri infections are rare. Most  infections occur from exposure to contaminated recreational water. Cases due to the use of neti pots and the practice of ablution have been documented.

The practice of ablution is included in Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Islamic traditions. Within the Islamic faith, ritual nasal rinsing is included in a cleansing process called “wudu” or “ablution.” It is usually performed several times a day in preparation for prayer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water and the amoeba is not found insalt water.

Initial symptoms of PAM usually start within 1 to 7 days after infection. The initial symptoms may include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Other symptoms can include stiff neck, confusion, loss ofbalance, seizures, and hallucinations. After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly.  For more infectious disease news and informationvisit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

Related story: Neti pots, Naegleria and you

2 Comments

  1. […] reporting Naegleria fowleri deaths in the double digits the past two years (HERE and HERE) in Pakistan, health officials in Karachi have reported the first such case of […]

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