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Year’s first Naegleria death reported

May 02, 2022

Following the outbreak of cholera in Karachi, other water-borne diseases have also started claiming lives in the megalopolis as the health authorities on Sunday confirmed the death of an elderly person due to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by Naegleria fowleri.

“A 59-year-old person, Afzal Hussain, who was a resident of Kemari, died due to brain infection caused by a pathogen found in water known as Naegleria fowleri. It is the first death in 2022 due to Naegleria fowleri, often called brain-eating bug,” Sindh Health Director General Dr Muhammad Jumman Bahoto told The News on Sunday.

Karachi is currently in the grip of different types of water-borne diseases including cholera, gastroenteritis, hepatitis A and now cases of PAM have also started to emerge in the city due to supply of contaminated and non-chlorinated water in the city.

The health authorities said that since 2011, around 90 people died due to PAM caused by Naegerlia fowleri in Karachi. They added that overhead and underground water tanks in the city had become reservoirs for the miscroscopic organism causing the deadly disease.

Naegleria fowleri can be killed by chlorinating water but the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board has failed to properly chlorinate water before supplying it to houses. “Samples analysed from all city areas confirmed fecal contamination of water being supplied by the KWSB. No trace of chlorine was found in the water samples tested by us,” an official of the health department said.