‘Brain-eating’ amoeba claims 11th life in Sindh

Published September 29, 2014
So far none of the 11 victims this year have swimming history.— Reuters file photo
So far none of the 11 victims this year have swimming history.— Reuters file photo
.— AP file photo
.— AP file photo

KARACHI: A 57-year-old man — the oldest victim so far — who had visited Pakistan after years in the United States died of infection caused by Naegleria fowleri also known as “brain-eating amoeba” increasing the year’s death toll to 11 in the province and 10th in Karachi, officials said on Sunday.

The officials said Mohammad Dawood, resident of KDA Scheme 1, had returned to the city from the US two months ago.

“We have taken the samples of water supplied to the area, where he lived and sent them for examination,” said Dr Zafar Ijaz, director health of Karachi division.

The victim had no record of swimming — the key cause of the disease in the event of a pool used is not properly chlorinated.

He said the deceased had the history of visiting Hyderabad and perhaps he had been infected with the deadly amoeba over there.

A 13-year-old boy, Hashir, son of Zahid Hussain, was the last victim died of the disease a month ago. Previously, his death was believed to have been caused by meningitis, which shows similar symptoms. But, since the authorities had already asked all hospitals to conduct tests on such deaths for naegleria to know the lethality of the disease, it was duly confirmed after a test that it was naegleria, the officials said.

So far none of the 11 victims this year have swimming history.

The deadly amoeba claimed its youngest victim — a nine-month-old girl — last month. A four-year-old boy was previously the youngest, who died in 2012.

10 deaths were reported in Karachi and one in Hyderabad, said the official.

The first death this year was reported on May 27 in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

As recent reports suggested that chlorination levels in more than 40 per cent of Karachi’s water were found to be unsatisfactory, the level of threat by naegleria has gravely increased.

Experts say this amoeba can only be eliminated by use of properly chlorinated water.

Maintaining required chlorination levels in water supplied to the city is part of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board responsibilities, which it requires to improve greatly.

Last year, the disease claimed three lives — a 14-year-old boy from Korangi, a 20-year-old man from New Karachi’s Godhra Colony and a 40-year-old man from Lines Area.

The deadly disease resurfaced in the city with lethality in 2012 when it claimed 10 lives.

Naegleria germs travel through the nasal cavity and only affect the brain.

The illness attacks a healthy person, three to seven days after exposure to contaminated water with symptoms of headache and slight fever, in some cases associated with sore throat and rhinitis (commonly called stuffy nose).

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2014

Opinion

Civil liberties
23 Oct 2021

Civil liberties

The late I.A. Rehman is esteemed on both sides of the border.
The Hamza factor
Updated 23 Oct 2021

The Hamza factor

A new story is quietly unfolding inside the PML-N and there may yet be a surprise twist.
What should Imran Khan do?
Updated 23 Oct 2021

What should Imran Khan do?

Making a mishmash of religion and politics won’t turn Pakistan into a welfare state. Here’s what can.
Afghan health crises
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Afghan health crises

The condition and prospects of Afghanistan’s health sector are complex and grave.

Editorial

A final push
Updated 23 Oct 2021

A final push

PAKISTAN’S hopes of exiting the so-called FATF grey list have been shattered once again. The global money...
23 Oct 2021

Kabul visit

FOREIGN MINISTER Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s flying visit to Kabul on Thursday is the first official high-level...
23 Oct 2021

Baqir’s blooper

THE remarks made by State Bank governor Reza Baqir at a London press conference have hit a raw nerve in Pakistan. In...
Spate of attacks
Updated 22 Oct 2021

Spate of attacks

Following a near-constant decline since 2016, the year 2021 has witnessed a precipitous rise in violence-related fatalities in KP.
22 Oct 2021

Libel suits

THE outcome of two libel cases recently decided by courts in England should be edifying for the government — if it...
22 Oct 2021

Education losses

A NEW report on the education losses suffered by Pakistani children due to pandemic-induced school closures sheds...