ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued an advisory regarding the Primary Amoebic Meni­ngoencephalitis (PAM) also called Naegleriasis, or brain-eating amoeba, an infectious disease of the central nervous system.

Deaths related to PAM have regularly been reported from some hospitals in Karachi during summers since 2008.

According to advisory, high temperatures associated with poor chlorinated water during early summer pose a risk of Naegleria fowleri infection. “To mitigate the risks associated with the hot season ahead, it is imperative to undertake immediate and long-term preventive measures in mega cities particularly Karachi. Vigilant surveillance is also imperative to pick the suspected cases for early disease confirmation and ensuring aggressive measures to interrupt further transmission,” it stated.

The objective of the advisory is to alert the public health authorities, water and sanitation agencies and other relevant stakeholders to undertake necessary steps for prevention and control of PAM across the country especially in areas where cases are being reported every year.

Naegleria fowleri cannot survive in clean, cool and chlorinated water. Chlorine kills Naegleria fowleri and it is the most effective way to disinfect swimming pools and reticulated water systems. People have been advised to avoid jumping or diving into warm fresh water or thermal pools and keeping the head above the water in spas, thermal pools and warm fresh water.

Empty and clean small collapsible wading pools daily, ensure swimming pools and spas are adequately chlorinated and well maintained. If using un-chlorinated water, don’t allow water to go up in nose when bathing, showering or washing the face.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2024

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