Brain-Eating Amoeba Takes Teenager’s Life in Karachi


by Hamna Bano

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On Sunday, a teenager’s death sparked the threat of naegleria virus also known as brain-eating amoeba in Karachi. Officials at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) confirmed that the boy died of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is a disease of the nervous system caused by Naegleria fowleri

The officials said that “the 19-year-old patient, a waiter by profession and resident of Saddar, was admitted to the hospital on Saturday in critical condition”. 

“He had complaints of persisting high fever, headache, and vomiting,” Dr. Yahya Tunio, JPMC’s deputy executive director.


The illness is commonly known as the "brain-eating amoeba" since it causes damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, leading to meningoencephalitis. This condition has a fatality rate of 95 percent, resulting in the demise of those affected.

Tunio also added that “this is the second mortality in the hospital by PAM this year at JPMC.”

Moist soil, freshwater bodies including lakes, ponds, and rivers, inadequately chlorinated swimming pools, and water supply pipelines can all harbor Naegleria fowleri.

N. fowleri lives in warm water and enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain and starts destroying tissues. This is the main reason, it is called a brain-eating amoeba. The illness resulting from it is always fatal as the germ cannot survive in clean, cool, and chlorinated water. 

Besides this, unfortunately, a considerable segment of our population lacks access to clean and safe drinking water. Consequently, individuals are forced to consume contaminated water, resulting in the spread of waterborne illnesses like Typhoid, Gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A and E, and Cholera.

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KW&SB), which is in charge of managing Karachi's municipal water supply, has been linked to recent cases of Naegleria fowleri infections.

For the city's drinkable water, the efficacy of the filtering and chlorination procedures is under doubt.