3rd case of rare amoebic brain infection reported in Karachi, Pakistan

A third fatal case of brain infection due to an amoeba has been reported by health authorities in Karachi. Failure to chlorinate the water supply at a water park that was visited by the patient is thought to be responsible. Two other cases of this disease have been reported previously in the city, and health authorities state that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board did not chlorinate water properly, as indicated by the analysis of water samples collected from different parts of the city.

Advice For Travellers

Brain infection by a parasitic amoeba (primary amoebic meningoencephalitis) is a rare disease caused by inhaling water containing the parasite into the nose. The amoeba migrates through the nose up into the brain causing a fatal inflammation of the brain. The amoeba survives in nature in tepid or warm fresh water. Chlorination of water supplies eliminates the parasite.

The risk of exposure for the general traveller is very low. However, travellers who visit water parks or swim in warm rivers or lakes should take precautions to avoid inhaling the water into their noses.

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