It was a friend’s heart wrenching Facebook status that informed me about first Naegleria victim of 2015 in Karachi a couple of days ago. A young girl Abeera, only child of her parents, apparently went to a famous water park and died after few days. Karachi health services director Dr Zafar Ejaz confirmed that it is the first Naegleria case of 2015 in Karachi. The waterborne fatal brain-eating amoeba is back to haunt Karachiites yet again. This deadly creature lives in warm bodies of fresh water like lakes, rivers and ponds. In urban areas poorly chlorinated water of swimming pools and water parks is the reservoir of Naegleria Fowleri especially when the weather is warm.
Naegleria Fowleri can invade through nose during swimming or ablution and attack the human nervous system and brain, causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) which is difficult to detect because the disease progresses rapidly and diagnosis is usually made after death. Mortality rate due to brain eating amoeba in Pakistan is 99% and only two survivors of the infection are reported in the world. From July to October 2012, 44 people in the southern part of Pakistan died within a week from Naegleria and last year it claimed 10 lives in Karachi.
Symptoms of the disease resembles with diarrhea a lot but it is much more fatal as patient dies within few days of infection. June through September is said to be the high risk time to get infected by Naegleria so it is better to use chlorinated water for ablution or swimming. The infection is usually not contracted unless the water is very deeply inhaled. In no way it is caused by drinking water but still better to use boiled water. It cannot be spread from person to person. Only known preventive measure is adequately chlorinating domestic tap water supply including underground and overhead water tanks and avoid swimming in public pools.
Remember Naegleria Fowleri is 99% fatal but 100% preventable. Stay Safe Karachiites.
Image Source: medicalnewspk