Friday May 20, 2022

Teenager battles for life after testing positive for Naegleria fowleri

August 24, 2019

A 16-year old boy is battling for life at a private hospital in Karachi after he was diagnosed on Friday with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a rare disease caused by Naegleria fowleri, a microorganism also referred to as brain-eating bug, health officials said.

“Muhammad Sohaib, 16, a resident of the Mahmoodabad area of the city has been diagnosed with Naegleria fowleri infection. He is still alive and undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Karachi,” an official of the Sindh health department told The News on Friday.

According to the experts, PAM is a disease of the central nervous system. PAM is caused by Naegleria fowleri, a free-living ameba. It is a rare disease with a very high mortality rate as only four of 145 patients of PAM in the United States between 1962 and 2018 survived.

According to health department officials, 11 people have so far died in 2019 in Karachi due to PAM caused by the brain-eating bug. Sohaib is the year’s 12th patient of the disease. They said Naegleria fowleri infects the brain when a person ingests water through his or her nostrils while making ablution or when water enters into the nasal cavity while swimming in non-chlorinated swimming pools or lakes.

Officials said the boy infected with the deadly microorganism was unable to talk or respond to and they had formed a team of experts that would investigate the case and ascertain the cause of infection so that precautionary measures could be adopted.

Doctors at the private hospital near Kalapul where the teenager has been admitted said the condition of Sohaib was “not good” as he had been put on life support and they were trying their best to save his life.

“Patient Sohaib was brought in unstable condition to us and medical investigations revealed that he is infected with Naegleria fowleri. Currently, he is on ventilator,” a doctor said on condition of anonymity.