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Tuesday Jul 13 2021

District health officers, KWSB told to chlorinate Karachi's water as Naegleria threat looms

District health officers, KWSB told to chlorinate Karachis water as Naegleria threat looms

  • KWSB asked to chlorinate water as Naegleria fowleri kills two people over weekend
  • Naegleria is a brain-eating amoeba. It lives in freshwater.
  • The 2021 death toll caused by Naegleria mounts to five in Karachi.

KARACHI: The district health officers in Karachi have been advised to work with the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to ensure chlorination of water as the city reported two deaths from brain-eating bug Naegleria in the last two days.

Naegleria fowleri is found in freshwater.

The office of the director health, Karachi, Dr Akram Sultan, has issued an advisory for the prevention of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by Naegleria fowleri, The News reported.

Read more: Karachi reports fourth death of 2021 from Naegleria

So far this year, six people have lost their lives due to PAM in Karachi, of which five were residents of the city while one belonged to the Lasbela district of Balochistan.

The latest victim was a 19-year-old who had gone for a picnic to a farmhouse in Malir with his friends, said health officials, adding that the young man was most likely infected with Naegleria after using the pool at the farmhouse.

DHOs and medical superintendents of major health facilities have been told to launch an immediate awareness campaign for the public and medical and paramedical staff of health facilities.

“There is a need to assess the level of chlorination in all major water reservoirs in the city, while cleanliness must be maintained at all the reservoirs in the city. Water tanker service providers should be asked to ensure provision of chlorinated water to the people.”

What is Naegleria and what can we do?

Doctors and health experts say Naegleria usually enters the brain and attacks the nervous system when infected water is ingested through the nasal cavity while bathing, swimming or performing ablution.

The deadly amoeba survives on bacteria in warm waters and can only be decimated through proper chlorination or boiling of water.

District health officers, KWSB told to chlorinate Karachis water as Naegleria threat looms

Health experts advise people to get their underground and overhead water tanks cleaned before summer starts every year and use chlorine tablets to routinely purify the water.