Pakistan has reported it’s seventh death due to the “brain-eating amoeba” since May, according to a report in the news source, Dawn today. The 29-year-old man from Karachi fell victim to Naegleria fowleri Wednesday.

brain eating amoeba
Naegleria fowleri
Image/CDC

Like most of the cases reported this year, there is no indication of how the victim contracted the deadly parasite.

Dr Zafar Ijaz, executive district officer of health, Karachi said, “He was the seventh victim of naegleria this year in Sindh. Six deaths have been reported in Karachi and another in Hyderabad.”

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

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. 

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 of balance, 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