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Karachi official orders health dept. to initiate a public awareness campaign over Naegleria

While addressing a combined meeting of KMC and Karachi Water and Sewerage Board about Naegleria, Karachi Metro-politan Corporation (KMC) Administrator Hashim Raza Zaidi directed Health Department to launch a public awareness campaign about the deadly amoeba, according to an Express Tribune report today.

brain-eating amoeba

Naegleri fowleri Image/CDC

The Water Board was directed to ensure that a suitable quantity of chlorine was mixed with the water being supplied to the city from pumping stations including Hub, Pipri, Gharo, New Mandi and others. He also called for the appointment of focal persons who would be responsible for complaints regarding the disease.

He directed the health department to start water sampling immediately, concentrating in slum areas where the bacteria is likely to be found. He informed that KMC was making arrangements for cleanliness and water chlorination of its swimming pools.

Last October, CBS News reported of an outbreak of the deadly parasite in Karachi, which killed 10 people.

What is Naegleria fowleri and how does one get infected?

N. fowleri is protozoan parasite known as an amoeba which is found in warm, fresh water. People typically get it byswimming, jumping or playing in freshwater and get the water up their nose. From there the parasite travels to the brain and spinal cord and necrotizes, or basically eats brain tissue.

Pakistan map CIAThe disease is known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and it has a very rapid progression. Typical symptoms may start after a day or two; headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms may include seizures, irrational behavior, hallucinations and finally coma and death. The course of the disease typically last about a week. Because the symptoms are very similar to bacterial meningitis, PAM may not even be considered in the diagnosis.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty rare disease, unfortunately, treatment is usually unsuccessful with only a handful of people surviving infection.

Related story: Neti pots, Naegleria and you

You should always assume there is some risk when swimming in freshwater. The location and number of amoeba present in a body of water varies from time to time. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends these four steps to reduce your risk of infection:

• Avoid water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater, hot springs, and thermally-polluted water such as water around power plants.
• Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
• Hold the nose shut or use nose clips when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, or hot springs.
• Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. BRAIN EATING AMEBA : Dr. Pinna says:

    […] Karachi official orders health dept. to initiate a public awareness campaign over Naegleria […]

  2. Pakistan: Karachi teen dies from ‘brain-eating amoeba’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Just a day after Karachi Metro-politan Corporation (KMC) Administrator Hashim Raza Zaidi directed the Health department and Water Board to take steps in water cleanliness and public awareness, Dawn.com reports the death of a teenage boy due to the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri. […]

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