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November 30, 2016

Woman dies of brain-eating amoeba infection

Karachi

November 30, 2016

The third victim of Naegleria fowleri this year was five months pregnant;

her husband says she had visited a water park a few days ago

A woman died of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), the infection caused by the “brain-eating amoeba” naegleria fowleri, at a private hospital on late Monday night, health officials said on Tuesday.

Sarwat Atif, a 33-year old pregnant woman, who lived in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, was admitted to the Liaquat National Hospital suffering from extreme headache and nausea on Sunday afternoon.

Initial symptoms indicated that the woman was suffering from meningitis but laboratory tests diagnosed her with PAM. She passed away on Monday night at 11:00 pm because of the complications of the disease, Anjum Rizvi, a spokesperson for the Liaquat National Hospital told The News.

He added that the woman lived in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and five months pregnant. She was first admitted to the gynecology ward of the hospital suffering from severe headache.

She had been complaining of symptoms for the last few days but her family through that the complications were related to her pregnancy.

“Cerebrospinal fluid analysis and other medical examinations showed that the woman was suffering from PAM,” Rizvi said.

“Naegleria fowleri is a microorganism with the highest mortality rate. She was given every possible treatment at the hospital but the woman couldn’t survive and died on Monday night at the Intensive Care Unit.”

The woman’s husband, an employee of the Karachi Port Trust, said she had visited a water park on the city outskirts around 10 or 12 days ago and since then feeling dull and complaining of headache and fatigue.

Dr Zafar Mehdi, an official of the provincial health department who deals with naegleria fowleri cases in Karachi said samples of the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid and other body fluids were sent to the Aga Khan University Hospital for analysis and the hospital lad confirmed that she was suffering from PAM.

“I have started my investigating into the case and collected water samples from her house, the area where she lived and the places she had visited before her death to analyse them for the presence of chlorine and naegleria fowleri.

Mehdi said he was unaware about the woman visiting a water park a few days before her death but if he was informed about it, he would visit that park and collect water samples there.

“If no chlorine is found in its pools, we shut it down,” he added. With Sarwat’s death, the number of people who died of the disease in Karachi this year has reached three. Health officials said chlorination of water was the only way to prevent the brain infection.

Naegleria fowleri enters the brain via the nasal cavity.

The health department officials said despite the deaths caused by the amoeba, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board did not chlorinate water properly as indicated by the analysis of water samples collected from different parts of the city.

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