Taking Steps to Counter Naegleria


A series of letters have been sent across the Sindh province by the Health department Sindh, to the provincial local government departments and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, declaring that Naegleria Fowleri is a risk in the current condition of water reservoirs. They have been asked by the departments to take quick and appropriate actions.

These precautionary measures were taken after HTV reported the death of an 18 year old girl in Gulistan-I-Jauhar, in Karachi.  She is the first victim of the brain eating amoeba, this year. Last year, 14 people died from it, of which 12 belonged to Karachi only.

It is expected that the disease would spread more in higher temperature of the coming months as these conditions are considered to be favorable for the germ that nurtures in warm waters and attacks humans through nasal cavity.

This has alarmed the department of health which has drafted several letters as an effort to combat the disease in the upcoming months. In the letters sent to all senior directors of the province including the senior director of health services of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation they have been asked to take immediate actions, including awareness in public as well as medical and paramedical staff.

They have also been asked to take samples from water reservoirs to assess the safety. The directors have been asked to be aware of Naegleria Fowleri in freshwater bodies i.e., lakes, rivers, hot springs, soil and swimming pools that were poorly maintained, minimally chlorinated and/or un-chlorinated.

The letters also asked to ensure that no panic is created at any level as it may worsen the situation. The officials were advised in the letters that the risk of Naegleria infection could be made very low from properly cleaned, maintained and disinfected water.

The authorities in the letter further said that Naegleria infection has very similar symptoms to meningitis, bacterial or viral or tuberculosis and therefore all cases of the other three diseases should be examined for Naegleria organism, so that no Naegleria infection might be overlooked.

In a letter to the secretary of local government department, the health ministry drew his attention towards the recent death and 14 deaths reported last year and asked him to ensure presence of residual chlorine in the water being supplied by the KWSB.

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