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Pakistan: Karachi teen dies from ‘brain-eating amoeba’

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.

14-year-old Adeel Hussain, a resident of Karachi’s Korangi area was brought to Liaquat National Hospital in a semi-conscious condition with high fever on May 10. He died at the hospital late Thursday.

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

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Naegleria fowleri is a free-living amoeba that causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a disease of the central nervous system. PAM is a rare disease.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

Naegleria fowleri is a heat-loving (thermophilic) ameba found around the world. is naturally found in warm freshwater environments such as lakes and rivers, naturally hot (geothermal) water such as hot springs, warm water discharge from industrial or power plants, geothermal well water, poorly maintained or minimally chlorinated swimming pools, water heaters, and soil, where it lives by feeding on bacteria and other microbes in the environment.

Naegleria is not found in salt water, like the ocean.

Humans become infected when water containing Naegleria fowleri enters the nose, usually while swimming. People do not get infected by drinking contaminated water. The amoeba migrates to the brain along the olfactory nerve, through a bony plate in the skull called the cribriform plate, where it reaches the brain and begins to destroy the brain tissue. The amoeba has never been shown to have spread from one person to another.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty rare disease, unfortunately, treatment is usually unsuccessful with only a handful of people surviving infection. It has been suggested that the survivor’s strain of Naegleria fowleri was less virulent, which contributed to the patient’s recovery.

A renowned pediatrician Dr Ghaffar Billo told Dawn.com that science had progressed considerably adding that a cure for the disease would soon be developed along the same line as other diseases previously perceived incurable.

“New challenges will keep on coming in, we only need to have the sensibility to tackle them with better techniques and technology,” he added.

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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:

    […] Pakistan: Karachi teen dies from ‘brain-eating amoeba’ […]

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