KARACHI- In order to inform the general public, Sindh Health Department announced regarding the organism Naegleria Fowleri, a brain eating Amoeba, that naturally lives in warm fresh waterways, including lakes, rivers, ponds, hot springs, soil and poorly maintained swimming pools that are minimally or un-chlorinated.
It infects people by entering the body through the nose during swimming or diving in warm fresh water places. It then travels to the brain where it consumes and destroys the brain tissues. The infection usually occurs during summers, when the water temperature is high.
This infection is unfortunately rapidly progressing, and is said to be 99% fatal, but 100% preventable.
The mainstay of treatment is ‘prevention’ which can be achieved through chlorination of water used for ‘ablution’ or ‘nasal rinsing’ or always use distilled or previously boiled and cooled water. The public swimming pools should be adequately chlorinated and during swimming, one should keep the head above the water and wear a nose clip.
The health department of Sindh has already addressed the issue on high priority basis and has formulated a technical focal group to tackle this situation.
The owners of all swimming pools are instructed to ensure the chlorination status of water as per WHO standards. The people are advised to immediately rush to get professional health care upon developing signs and symptoms. The symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, severe frontal headache, stiff neck, seizures, altered mental status and eventual coma.