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October 12, 2019

Brain-eating bug, rabies claim one life each in city


October 12, 2019

The brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri has claimed one more life of a teenager, and a young boy from the Tando Muhammad Khan district died due to rabies encephalitis in Karachi this week, health officials said on Friday.

“Hameedullah, 19, son of Moin Gul, a resident of the Rasheedabad area of Karachi, was brought to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) yesterday in an unconscious condition, and due to his deteriorated condition he was put on life support. He died this morning due to infection caused by the Naegleria fowleri,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of the JPMC while talking to The News on Friday.

She said the attendants of the deceased were unaware as to how the teenager contracted the disease, but mostly people who swam in non-chlorinated pools, freshwater canals and lakes became victims of the deadly microorganism, while some of the people were also reported to have acquired the infection while making ablution.

“People should take precautionary measures as infection caused by the Naegleria fowleri is 100 percent fatal. Nobody should be allowed to swim in non-chlorinated pools of water while people should also put chlorine tablets or common bleach in their water tanks to eradicate deadly microorganisms,” Dr Jamali maintained.

Experts say the disease caused by Naegleria fowleri is a rare and usually fatal brain infection, and exposure to this microorganism occurs during swimming or other water sports, as this protozoan is found in freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs.

The amoeba travels up the nose to the brain, where it causes severe damage.

Health department officials said Asad was the 14th case of Naegleria fowleri infection in Karachi this year, adding that last month a 16-year-old boy from Mehmoodabad had died due to PAM, a rare disease caused by the brain-eating bug.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, while commenting on the death of a teenager due to meningitis caused by the Naegleria fowleri, said the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) should provide chlorinated water to the citizens. She also urged the citizens to take precautionary measures, saying it was a completely fatal disease.

Rabies kills boy

Rabies encephalitis, a fatal disease caused by rabid dogs, claimed one more life after an 11-year child from the Tando Muhammad Khan district of Sindh died at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH), Director NICH Dr Jamal Raza said on Friday.

“Dildar, 11-year-old boy from Tando Muhammad Khan, was brought to the NICH last week who had been bitten by a stray dog on his face some 20 days back. The child received only one dose of the Anti Rabies Vaccine (ARV) and then his family did not care about completing the course of vaccination. The child developed rabies encephalitis or full-blown rabies, which is incurable and the child died a few days back,” Dr Jamal Raza added.

Sindh health department officials said with the latest death due to rabies encephalitis at the NICH, the number of deaths due to the lethal viral disease had risen to 18. They added that mostly children and some women had become victim of the deadly disease who had not been vaccinated after being bitten by stray dogs.

Secretary for Health Saeed Awan said there were 18,000 vials of the Anti-Rabies Vaccine available in the province at the moment, and urged people to get themselves vaccinated if they were bitten by stray dogs. However, experts said incidents of dog-bite were dozens of times higher in the province due to the presence of thousands of dogs in every town in the province.

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