KARACHI     -     Nineteen-year-old Hamidullah died of Naegleria Fowleri (brain eating amoeba) at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre early Friday morning, bringing the total of such deaths to 15 in Karachi.

Executive Director of JPMC Dr Seemi Jamali told the media the deceased patient was brought to the hospital on Thursday from Rasheedabad near Sohrab Goth in an unconscious condition with shallow breathing and high grade fever that had persisted for past four days.

In view of his condition the young man was immediately incubated at the emergency room and was also soon put on ventilator, however, could not survive.

Quoting Moin Gul, father of Hamidullah, she mentioned that the water tanker service were the main source of water supply to their home and the entire locality and apparently brain eating amoeba was transmitted through the water available to the family.

It was only on September 14 this year that a 16 year old Akbar Asad was reported to had died at Aga Khan Hospital due to the naegleria infection caused by the amoeba that thrives in untreated and non chlorinated or inadequately chlorinated water.

Karachi, the commercial hub of the city reports the particular infection almost every year during post monsoons and often also during summers, mainly due to direct exposure of people to unsafe water which enters their body through nose and via nasal reaches up to brain severely damaging the brain tissue.

Senior microbiologist Dr Rasheeda Ejaz said the brain eating amoeba thrives in warm fresh water lakes or ponds and even swimming pools filled with non chlorinated water.

About its presence in the tap water, she said this was only possible if the water tanks and pipes (both public and private) are not properly cleaned and regularly treated with disinfectants in particular context of chlorine and chloramines.

“The risk is basically when someone flushes the amoeba containing water into the nose and which through nasal reaches the brain and ultimately damaging the brain tissue,” she elaborated.

Karachi Water and Sewerage Department (KWSB) sources have, however, strongly denied any lapse on their part and claimed that water being supplied to the citizens was being duly treated with due care to eliminate any risk to public health.

As for chances of recovery of the infected person, Dr Seemi Jamali and Ahmad Gohar were unanimous that Meningitis Fowleri was generally fatal.

Although an anti-fungal drug is primarily used, administered intravenous for the naegleria infection, doctors mentioned that chances of survival depends on how early the patients in diagnosed and provided with needed medical intervention.

Dr Seemi Jamali, with regard to latest case said lumbar drain was also performed on Hamidullah who was initially suspected of emphilitis and it was after necessary investigations that his report confirmed him to be also inflicted with brain eating amoeba.