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Lahore reports first death by Naegleria

July 6, 2023  17:29

First patient of Naegleria fowleri in the province has breathed his last at Services Hospital on, health officials confirmed.

Mustafa Shafique, 30, was brought to the Services Hospital Emergency two days back with symptoms of flu, high fever, and headache.

On suspicion of Naegleria fowleri infection, healthcare providers took samples, and the same were sent to Chughtai Lab for confirmation.

Last day, Chughtai Lab confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as brain-eating amoeba. The patient breathed his last at the hospital on Tuesday.

Mustafa Shafique is the first case of Naegleria fowleri in the province and the fourth one in the country this year. Three other cases have been reported from Karachi.

Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the ameba enters the body through the nose. It usually happens while swimming, diving, or putting head under fresh water like in lakes and rivers.

Infection starts with the amoebae entering the nasal cavity, travelling through the nasal mucosa along the olfactory nerves, across the cribriform plate and finally entering the brain. The infection can prove life-threatening.

Miltefosine is the newest drugs to kill free-living amebae, including Naegleria fowleri. Miltefosine has also been used to successfully treat patients infected with Balamuthia4 and disseminated Acanthamoeba infection5.

Healthcare providers have advised people to take necessary precautions for avoiding Naeleria fowleri infection.

“Brain eating amoeba survives in fresh waters. Swimming pools should be regularly cleaned with chlorine. Water tanks at houses and offices should be cleaned twice in a year. Water should be boiled before its usage for ablution”, said Dr Abdul Rauf, a family physician running his clinic in Usman Gunj, a densely populated locality in Northern Lahore.


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