For the fourth time in one month, health authorities in Sindh province, Pakistan have reported a fatality due to the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri.
According to the Pakistani news source, Dawn.com, a middle-aged man from Thatta contracted the amoeba and died becoming the fourth case of 2015.
The Express Tribune notes that The National Institute of Health (NIH) has not yet issued Seasonal Awareness and Alert Letter (SAAL) for the epidemic-prone infectious diseases occurring in summer and monsoon seasons in Pakistan, including the deadly amoeba that has once again reared it’s ugly head in the Karachi area.
“The moment the first case was reported it was the responsibility of the NIH to issue an alert to the Sindh provincial health department to start checking the level of chlorine in the drinking water but unfortunately nothing was done,” said a senior official in NIH who wished not to be named.
However, the Sindh Health Department constituted a six member committee to focus on preventive measures against the disease, announced Special Secretary Health Dr Khalid Hussain Shaikh on Wednesday.
Shaikh also noted that a Naegleria Prevention Centre (NPC) would be set up at the COD Filtration Plant for regular discussions on preventive strategies as well as conducting sample tests.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Naegleria fowleri , is a free-living microscopic amoeba, (single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Naegleria fowleri usually infects people 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 is usually fatal.
Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose. You cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria.
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 Islamictraditions. 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.
Naegleria fowleri is not found in salt water, like the ocean. For more infectious disease news andinformation, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page