KARACHI: Naegleria fowleri, better known as ‘brain-eating’ amoeba, claimed a second life in the city within a month, health officials confirmed to Dawn on Monday.
Ahmed, 17, a resident of Shanti Nagar area of Gulshan-i-Iqbal, died over two weeks after visiting Keenjhar Lake for swimming, they added.
Naegleria fowleri survives on the bacteria in warm waters.
The teenage boy had been suffering from high fever with all the symptoms which later confirmed that he was a victim of naegleria fowleri. Some three days ago, he had been admitted to a private hospital where he died on Sunday, the officials said.
“We have got confirmed report of the death due to naegleria today,” said Dr Syed Zafar Mehdi, focal person of the provincial government’s naegleria programme, while speaking to Dawn on Monday.Ahmed was the second victim of naegleria fowleri as earlier this month, the brain-eating amoeba had killed a 30-year-old resident of Baldia Town.
While the Sindh government did not release funds and resources required for efficient functioning of the committee that it had formed last year to check spread of naegleria fowleri, the committee worked on its own.
In its primary findings shared with the media the committee revealed that most neighbourhoods of Karachi got unchlorinated water supply.
Recently, the committee began inspecting swimming pools of hotels and clubs. It sealed two of pools for lack of chlorination until their management ensured satisfactory levels of chlorine in their swimming pools.
Chlorination is the key method to kill the germ and keep the life-taking disease at bay. Another way is to use boiled water for cleaning nose as the germ enters through the nasal cavity of its victim and attacks the brain.
Officials and experts had earlier warned that with the monsoon drawing near, its germs would get breeding grounds in the shape of pools of rainwater.
Last year the naegleria fowleri left more than a dozen people dead. They said the germ could potentially approach enter human brain through nasal cavity during ablution at home or mosques where water supply was not properly chlorinated or boiled. The dangerous amoeba, which survives on the bacteria in warm waters and enters human brain through nasal cavity and eats up its tissues, could only be decimated through proper chlorination or boiling of water.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2016