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Business News/ Science / Health/  Kerala teenager dies of lethal ‘brain eating amoeba’: What is it and how it spreads
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Kerala teenager dies of lethal ‘brain eating amoeba’: What is it and how it spreads

Kerala Health Minister Veena George assured the people that the PAM doesn't spread from one person to another

Naegleria fowleri is a single-cell organism that can be only observed through microscopesPremium
Naegleria fowleri is a single-cell organism that can be only observed through microscopes

Kerala's Alappuzha district registered the death of a 15-year-old boy on Thursday suffering from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The condition occurs after an infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, also known as ‘brain-eating amoeba.’ This is a rare infection that affects our central nervous system and has a high rate of fatality.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George assured the people that the PAM doesn't spread from one person to another. The samples of the patient have been transferred to the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research and will undergo a detailed examination.

Naegleria fowleri

A single-cell organism that can be only observed through microscopes and is found in warm freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, hot springs as well as soil. The organism can also be rarely found in public places like poorly maintained swimming pools, water parks, etc.

The experts claim that Naegleria fowleri cannot survive in saline conditions and hence is not found in seas.

How does Naegleria fowleri infect human beings?

Naegleria fowleri enters humans usually through the nose and then travels to the brain. It can infect human beings while they are diving or jumping in water bodies as the water enters our noses in those conditions. The infection causes a serious brain infection called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

Once infected there is a 97% fatality rate with very rare chances of surviving. Most of the patients die within days of catching the infection. "Infection with Naegleria fowleri is EXTREMELY RARE and can only happen when water contaminated with amoebae enters the body through the nose," the Florida Department of Health said.

What are the symptoms and cure?

The initial symptoms will be headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc and in the advanced stages, the symptoms can intensify to altered mental status, hallucinations, and even coma.

For now, there is no vaccine for the brain-eating amoeba and the doctors use a combination of drugs like amphotericin B, azithromycin, fluconazole, rifampin, miltefosine, and dexamethasone.

How to protect ourselves?

1. Avoid warm waterbodies

2. Clean your nose with sterile water

3. Use nose clips while entering water bodies

4. Avoid swimming pools that are poorly maintained

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devesh Kumar
I cover politics, geo-politics, economy, and technology and have keen interest in understanding and analyzing the complex issues that shape our world. I am committed to delivering well-researched, balanced, and thought-provoking stories that provides insights into the key trends and developments.
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Published: 08 Jul 2023, 04:37 PM IST
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