KARACHI: The third case of Naegleria fowleri, the brain-eating amoeba, was recently reported in a private hospital of Karachi. Two other deaths from the deadly Naegleria have been reported in the city so far.
A 34-year old man, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, is under treatment at a private hospital in Karachi whose condition has been termed very critical. Shoaib is a resident of the Liaquatabad area of Karachi and was shifted to a private hospital in critical condition where he was moved to ventilator care.
Experts informed that Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. The Naegleria fowleri amoeba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue.
Earlier, a 21-year old student Anas, son of Aslam, resident of Orangi Town, died due to Naegleria fowleri at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). The second case was reported from the Kharadar area of Karachi, where a 44-year old man, Rasheed Shah, succumbed to the brain-eating amoeba.
The Naegleria fowleri is a brain-eating amoeba that enters through a person’s nose and rapidly works by consuming the brain tissue. The amoeba has an affinity for warm water and can survive in high temperatures as well. Freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes, swimming pools, as well as underground and overhead tanks are the most common points of incubation for Naegleria fowleri.
The Sindh Health Department had constituted a focal group to formulate strategies for the control of the Naegleria fowleri infection. Dr Syed Zafar Mehdi is leading the Focal Group for Control Naegleria fowleri.
The Focal Group was constituted to control Naegleria Fowleri. It was assigned to take samples of water from various localities of the city such as swimming pools, water reservoir, pumping stations, farmhouses, as well as tap water and to carry out its proper testing to prevent people from Naegleria fowleri. The Focal Group was also assigned to carry out the chlorination of water as per the World Health Organization (WHO) standards.