In a follow-up on the Naegleria fowleri situation in Karachi this year, the Sindh health department reports a third death due to the brain eating amoeba in a week.
As previously reported, a 32-year-old woman, who was a resident of the Qayyumabad area, died due to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis on May 24, followed by death of a 45-year-old man in Surjani Town, who passed away on May 26.
The latest case is a 19-year-old boy died in the Saddar area on May 28.
Six total deaths were reported in Karachi in 2022.
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.
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.
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