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Business News/ Science / Health/  'Brain-eating amoeba' kills South Korean man within 11 day of returning from Thailand. Details here
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'Brain-eating amoeba' kills South Korean man within 11 day of returning from Thailand. Details here

The Naegleria fowleri infection, also known as the ‘brain eating amoeba’ is usually found in warm freshwater bodies.

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(Representative image)

A South Korean man who had returned from Thailand to his home country died from ‘brain eating amoeba’ or Naegleria fowleri, according to a report published by Korean Times on Monday. 

According to the report, the man had stayed in Thailand for four months. The report cited Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) claiming that the man in his 50s entered South Kora on 10 December. 

The Naegleria fowleri infection, also known as the ‘brain eating amoeba’ is usually found in warm freshwater bodies. 

Symptoms exhibited by South Korean man included Meningitis including 

-headaches

-fever

-vomiting

-slurred speech

-Stiff neck

The man reportedly died 11 days after his arrival. The culprit behind the man's death was confirmed after authorities performed his autopsy. 

The Korean Times said this is the first confirmed case of a Naegleria fowleri infection in the country, and added that the KDCA has not yet revealed details of the transmission.

Understanding 'brain-eating' amoebic infection:

- Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba (a single-celled living organism) that can cause infections in the brain

- The amoeba is found in soil and in warm freshwater bodies like lakes, rivers and hot springs.

- The disease caused by this naegleria fowleri is referred to as 'primary amoebic meningoencephalitis' (PAM) which is widely reported to be fatal

Notably, from 1962 to 2021 only four of 154 people in the United States survived after contracting the infection.

- The disease - 'primary amoebic meningoencephalitis' - is difficult to detect in its early stages. The disease spreads rapidly. The disease is usually discovered after the patient has died.

Symptoms of Naegleria fowleri

Previous research has shown that the Naegleria fowleri disease patients primarily exhibit has two stages of symptoms. 

-Initially patients can experience severe frontal headaches, fever, nausea, and vomiting

-In the second stage patients experience stiff neck, seizures, altered mental status, and hallucinations 

-In serious cases the patient can even slip into a coma.

Transmission

The CDC has confirmed that there has been no evidence of human to human transmission of Naegleria fowleri infection. It does not spread via water vapour or aerosol droplets

Vaccination

There is currently no vaccine but the disease can be treated with proper drug combinations, such as amphotericin B, azithromycin, fluconazole, rifampin, miltefosine, and dexamethasone, which were used in cases of patients who survived the infection.

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Published: 27 Dec 2022, 05:37 PM IST
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