KARACHI - Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as the brain-eating amoeba, claimed first life of the year as a patient died in a private hospital on Monday.

Focal Person for Naegleria Control Committee, Dr Syed Zafar Mehdi, confirmed that a 40-year-old man, Pervez, resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar died in a private hospital. He was brought to the hospital one day ago where he expired during treatment. Dr Mehdi informed media men that the brain-eating amoeba had claimed six lives in Karachi in 2017. 

He explained that Naegleria fowleri is a brain-eating amoeba that enters brain through nose and starts consuming brain tissues. This amoeba loves warm water and can survive in high temperatures.

Fresh water bodies such as ponds, lakes, swimming pools, as well as underground and overhead tanks are the most common points, where this amoeba survives. Dr Mehdi said that chlorination process is the main method that can kill this organism and keep the life-threatening disease at bay.

Sindh Health Department has constituted a six-member focal group to formulate strategy for control of naegleria fowleri. Dr Syed Zafar Mehdi is the convener of this group. 

The representatives of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board, Human Resources Department Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Health Education Officer, Director Health Office Karachi, Assistant Executive Engineer of Public Health Engineering Department, Karachi and Executive Engineer of District Council, Karachi are members of focal group.

Nigleria prevention Centre at COD Filtration Plant will be the focal point for testing and working out strategy on daily basis. Immediate action for chlorination as per World Health Organization (WHO) standard and vulnerable areas will be given special attention.