Unusual encephalitis due to amoeba in Karachi, Pakistan

A second person has died from a brain infection caused by an amoeba. The patient had been swimming in Keenjhar Lake in Thatta District, Sindh. The infecting amoeba can be found in bodies of warm fresh water.

Inadequate chlorination of the water supply is often implicated in outbreaks of of this diseases. In 2015, a total of 14 fatal cases were reported from Sindh, the majority of whom were reported from Karachi.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Encephalitis.

Advice For Travellers

This form of brain infection is quite rare, and the risk for the average traveller is low. The amoeba that causes this infection enters the human brain through the nasal cavity, for example, when contaminated water enters the nose while swimming or while washing the interior of the nose with water that was not properly chlorinated or boiled.

Travellers who swim in open fresh waters (e.g., lakes and rivers) should avoid inhaling water into the nose. For travellers who wash their inner nose, use only chlorinated or boiled water.