Naegleria induced death toll reaches to 15


Nineteen year old Hamidullah died of Naegleria Fowleri (brain eating amoeba) at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre early Friday morning, bringing the total of such deaths to 15 in Karachi.
The Executive Director of JPMC, Dr. Seemi Jamali talking to APP said the deceased patient was brought to the hospital on Thrusday, from Rasheedabad near Sohrab Goth, in an unconscious condition with shallow breathing and high grade fever that had persisted for past four days.
In view of his condition the young man was immediately incubated at the emergency room and was also soon put on ventilator, however, could not survive.
Quoting Moin Gul, father of Hamidullah, she mentioned that the water tanker service were the main source of water supply to their home and the entire locality and apparently brain eating amoeba was transmitted through the water available to the family.
It was only on September 14 this year that a 16 year old Akbar Asad was reported to had died at Aga Khan Hospital due to the naegleria infection caused by the amoeba that thrives in untreated and non chlorinated or inadequately chlorinated water.
Karachi, the commercial hub of the city reports the particular infection almost every year during post monsoons and often also during summers, mainly due to direct exposure of people to unsafe water which enters their body through nose and via nasal reaches upto brain severely damaging the brain tissue.
Senior microbiologist Dr. Rasheeda Ejaz to an APP query said the brain eating amoeba thrives in warm fresh water lakes or ponds and even swimming pools filled with non chlorinated water.
About its presence in the tap water, she said this was only possible if the water tanks and pipes (both public and private) are not properly cleaned and regularly treated with disinfectants in particular context of chlorine and chloramine.
“The risk is basically when some one flushes the amoeba containing water into the nose and which through nasal reaches the brain and ultimately damaging the brain tissue,” she elaborated.
Karachi Water and Sewerage Department (KWSB) sources have, however, strongly denied any lapse on their part and claimed that water being supplied to the citizens was being duly treated with due care to eliminate any risk to public health.
As for chances of recovery of the infected person, Dr. Seemi Jamali and Ahmad Gohar were unanimous that Meningitis Fowleri was generally fatal.
Although an anti-fungal drug is primarily used, administered intravenous for the naegleria infection, doctors mentioned that chances of survival depends on how early the patients in diagnosed and provided with needed medical intervention.—APP