In the past couple of months, a new epidemic has hit Pakistan. This time it has come in the form of a deadly brain eating amoeba known as naegleria. According to a local news source, around 13 people have died in Karachi only because of this condition. There have been a few cases from other cities too.
Naegleria is extremely fatal and the person dies within two to three days of coming in contact with the virus. In this article, we are giving a brief synopsis of the symptoms caused by naegleria and some precautionary measures so that you can avoid coming in contact with this fatal microorganism.
What are the symptoms of Naegleria fowleri?
Naegleria infection symptoms begin two to fifteen days of exposure. The first symptom which presents itself is a change in the sense of smell and taste. In the next phase, the patient is likely to experience high fever along with stiffness in the neck. Some migraine like symptoms are also likely to present themselves such as severe and sudden headaches along with nausea and vomiting. People are also likely to experience some sensitivity to light.
In the later stages of the infection which unfortunately come within days, loss of balance and confusion occurs. The end stage of the infection brings severe hallucinations along with seizures and sleepiness. The symptoms progress at a very rapid rate and can lead to death in less than a week.
Naegleria is caused by a virus which breeds in clear air and humid environments. This makes public swimming pools a prime location for coming in contact with naegleria especially if the water is not chlorinated.
Naegleria is a rare infection and not everyone who gets exposed to the amoeba gets sick from it. It is thus necessary that you instantly visit a doctor if you start to notice some symptoms after taking a swim in the local pool. Taking precaution is necessary since naegleria is getting common in Pakistan. Some of the things to avoid is fresh water swimming. Fresh water is generally clean and is unchlorinated which means it has the potential to breed naegleria
Hot weather often urges people to go swimming but you should keep in mind that warm water is a suitable condition for growth of naegleria and your chances of catching it are very high during a warm water swim. If you do feel like swimming, make sure that the water is properly chlorinated and that you are wearing a nose clip to minimize your contact with water.
This article was produced in partnership with oladoc.com, a digital health company in Pakistan. Using oladoc, you can find the best medical specialist in Lahore, general physician in Karachi, and medical specialist in Islamabad – and book an appointment online.