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Naegleria deaths.

Byline: M. Khalid Kamal-Islamabad

THIS refers to the report 'Another Naegleria death reported in Karachi' (July 13). The deadly micro-organism, also known as brain-eating amoeba, is highly infectious and commonly found in warm freshwater, such as canals, ponds, lakes, rivers, water discharge from industries and poorly-maintained swimming pools. Once the contaminated water enters the body, the amoeba travels to the brain through the nose and causes a rare but deadly infection, known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Although there is an anti-fungal drug available for the treatment, the death rate is over 95 per cent.

We need to educate the people to avoid swimming or bathing in warm standing waters and canals with deposits like mud.

Most importantly, we need to review the procedure of performing ablution. Since most of the victims of naegleria fowleri in Pakistan are Muslims, this amoeba seems to have infected them while performing nasal cleaning during ablution. Religious scholars should enlighten the masses about using just wet fingers for the purpose.

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Author:M. Khalid Kamal-Islamabad
Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 19, 2021
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