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Sunday November 28, 2021

Young doctor becomes year’s fourth Naegleria victim

July 12, 2021

Naegleria fowleri, often called “brain-eating amoeba”, has claimed one more life in Karachi, where a young neurosurgeon died due to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) at the PNS Shifa Hospital.

“Dr Majid Ismail Chandio, a resident of DHA Karachi and a neurosurgeon by profession, had contracted a Naegleria fowleri infection on June 30. He was on ventilator for the past several days and died today at the PNS Shifa Hospital,” Shakeel Ahmed, technical officer public health, said on Sunday.

On Friday, an eight-year-old boy from District Central had died due to PAM caused by N fowleri during treatment at the Liaquat National Hospital. With the death of Dr Chandio, who was 30 years old, the number of N fowleri deaths this year has reached four.

A 30-year-old resident of the Abul Hasan Ispahani Road area and a 40-year-old resident of the Quaidabad neighbourhood had died after being infected by N fowleri in June and mid-May respectively.

Experts blame poor water quality for these infections in Karachi, where non-chlorinated water is being supplied, saying that N fowleri colonies are present in the layers of mud at the bottom of the overhead and underground water tanks.

They say that in the hot weather when the water’s temperature rises above 35 degrees, the growth of N fowleri begins and people start to get infected during ablution or swimming in non-chlorinated water.

They advise people to get their underground and overhead water tanks cleaned before the start of summer every year and use chlorine tablets to routinely purify the water.