NIH Issues Urgent Advisory on Brain-Eating Amoeba Outbreak

 NIH Issues Urgent Advisory on Brain-Eating Amoeba Outbreak

Cases and Deaths Reported in Pakistan Since 2008

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has taken proactive measures by issuing an advisory to alert federal and provincial health departments, water, and sanitation agencies about the increasing cases of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba.

Advisory Details

The advisory highlights that cases and deaths due to Naegleria have been reported in Pakistan since 2008, with recent cases emerging from various cities, including Karachi. Symptoms of Naegleria include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Neck stiffness

If left untreated, the virus can lead to coma and eventually death within 4 to 7 days.

Causes and Prevention

The advisory emphasizes that inadequate chlorine levels in water, especially during high temperatures, can cause Naegleria. The infection occurs when water with insufficient chlorine enters the nose. To prevent the spread of Naegleria, the water supply department must ensure the prescribed amount of chlorine is added to the water.

Naegleria Habitat

Brain-eating amoeba can be found in:

  • Rivers
  • Lakes
  • Hot springs

Delayed Diagnosis and Mortality Rate

The NIH advisory warns that delayed diagnosis of the infection can lead to death within 4 to 7 days. Alarmingly, 75% of Naegleria cases are diagnosed posthumously.

Preventive Measures

To combat the outbreak, relevant authorities have been instructed to:

  • Maintain the cleanliness of water tanks and pipes
  • Ensure the prescribed amount of chlorine is added to the water
  • Monitor water quality regularly

By taking these proactive measures, the spread of Naegleria can be controlled, and the risk of infection reduced.

Also Read: World Bank Approves $1bln for Pakistan

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