KARACHI: Eleven people – ten males and one female – have succumbed to the brain-eating Naegleria fowleri in Karachi since the start of 2019.
According to the data of Regional Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (RDSRU) of the Directorate General Health Services, all deaths were reported in private and public sector hospitals of Karachi from April 14 to July 27, 2019.
The last of the Naegleria fowleri victims was a 27-year-old male named Zulfiqar Ali who was a resident of District East, Karachi. All the victims were aged 21 to 45.
According to experts, Naegleria infections occur when contaminated water from sources such as inadequately chlorinated water from swimming pools or contaminated tap water enters the nose when people submerge their heads in the water, cleanse their noses during religious practices, etc.
The brain-eating amoeba enters through a person’s nose and starts consuming brain tissue. The amoeba loves warm water and thus can survive in high temperatures. Freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes, swimming pools, as well as underground and overhead tanks are the most common points for harboring Naegleria fowleri.