Naegleria fowleri, also known as “brain eating amoeba,” is wreaking havoc in Pakistan as the third person has now reportedly died from the deadly infection caused by it. The city of Karachi is up in arms after allegations that the city’s drinking water may not be decontaminated properly.
Unconfirmed naegleria death
Pakistan Today is reporting that its sources at a private hospital in Karachi said 37-year-old Farooq Mir died on Friday. Officials with the health department were unable to confirm the death, however. According to Dawn.com, Mir’s death brings the tally of deaths from the amoeba in Karachi to two in just the last two weeks and three since the beginning of the year. Last year, naegleria claimed at least 14 lives.
The deadly amoeba has not been found in properly chlorinated water, but it can be found in freshwater sources and swimming pools that do not have sufficient levels of chlorination. There are concerns in Karachi because studies have shown previously that a large portion of the city’s water does not have enough chlorine in it.
According to Pakistan Today, some have raised allegations that the funds for chlorine to be added to Karachi’s water supply instead are funneled into the pockets of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board officials.
Attempts to avert panic about naegleria
Public officials in Karachi are urging citizens not to worry, although so far they have not done enough to keep the public outcry at bay. They should test water samples and comb through the histories of the patients in order to determine where they could have been exposed to naegleria fowleri. These actions will help them avert more casualties from the amoeba.
It’s easy to see why so many people are worried. Those who are infected with naegleria suffer first from headaches, nausea and vomiting, fever, a stiff neck, and changes in the way things taste and smell. Those in the more advanced stages suffer from hallucinations, seizures, confusion and other problems with the nervous system.
True to its name as the brain-eating amoeba, it attacks the patient’s nervous system after entering the body through the mouth. In most cases, the patient dies within five days of being infected, although sometimes death can take as long as 25 days.
Attempts to treat naegleria
So far no cure for naegleria has been found, but doctors have recently found some success in helping patients who contract the deadly parasite by suppressing their immune systems, reports Medical Daily. It moves so quickly, however, that it’s difficult to find a treatment that can move fast enough to avert death from the parasite.
Often by the time patients seek help for the infection, it is too late.