Outbreak of ‘Brain-eating Amoeba’ in Karachi
What is Naegleria?
Naegleria is an amoeba (single-celled living organism) commonly found in warm freshwater (for example, lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Only one species (type) of Naegleria infects people: Naegleria fowleri.
How does infection with Naegleria fowleri occur?
Naegleria fowleri infects people when water containing the amoeba enters the body through the nose. This typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. The Naegleria fowleri amoeba then travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue. You cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water.
Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water and contaminated tap water) enters the nose, for example when people submerge their heads or cleanse during religious practices (wuzu), and when people irrigate their sinuses (nose) using contaminated tap water.
In what water temperature does Naegleria fowleri cause infection?
Naegleria fowleri is a heat-loving (thermophilic) microbe. It grows best at higher temperatures up to 115°F (46°C) and can survive for short periods at higher temperatures.
Can I get a Naegleria fowleri infection from a disinfected swimming pool?
No. You cannot get a Naegleria fowleri infection from a properly cleaned, maintained, and disinfected swimming pool.
When do Naegleria fowleri infections most commonly occur?
While infections with Naegleria fowleri are very rare, they occur mainly during the summer months of July, August, and September.
Can infection be spread from one person to another?
No. Naegleria fowleri infection cannot be spread from one person to another.
What are the symptoms of Naegleria fowleri infection?
Naegleria fowleri causes the disease primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue. In its early stages, symptoms of PAM may be similar to symptoms of bacterial meningitis.
Initial symptoms of PAM start about 5 days (range 1 to 7 days) after infection. The initial symptoms may include headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Later symptoms can include stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations. After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about 5 days (range 1 to 12 days).
What is the actual mechanism of death from Naegleria fowleri infection?
The infection destroys brain tissue causing brain swelling and death.
What is the fatality rate for an infected person who begins to show signs and symptoms?
The fatality rate is over 99%.
Is there effective treatment for infection with Naegleria fowleri?
It is not clear. Several drugs are effective against Naegleria fowleri in the laboratory. However, their effectiveness is unclear since almost all infections have been fatal, even when people were treated with similar drug combinations.
What should I do if I have been swimming or playing in freshwater and now think I have symptoms associated with Naegleria fowleri?
People should seek medical care immediately whenever they develop a sudden onset of fever, headache, stiff neck, and vomiting, particularly if they have been in warm freshwater recently.
What swimming behaviors have been associated with Naegleria fowleri infection?
Behaviors associated with the infection include diving or jumping into the water, submerging the head under water or engaging in other water-related activities that cause water to go up the nose.
How can I reduce the risk of infection with Naegleria fowleri?
- Use chlorinated and boiled water.
- Hold your nose shut, use nose clips, or keep your head above water when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater.
- Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.
- Avoid swimming in waters where you suspect poor hygiene and insufficient chlorination.
If you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses (for example, Wuzu), use water that has been:
- previously boiled for 1 minute and left to cool or
- filtered, using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller or
- purchased with a label specifying that it contains distilled or sterile water.
Dr. Kamran Dawood
Consultant Microbiologist and
Head of Microbiology and Infection Control Department
Further Reference: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/general.html
Medical Disclaimer: This is general information provided for educational and awareness purposes. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
- Brain Eating Amoeba invades Pakistan | Teeth Maestro (Teeth.com.pk)
- Brain-eating amoeba kills at least 10 in Karachi (guardian.co.uk)
- Fatal parasite strikes in Karachi (bbc.co.uk)
- What is the “brain-eating” amoeba found in Pakistan? (cbsnews.com)
- Pakistan: No risk of Naegleria if water boiled or chlorinated, say experts (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Naegleria Fowleri: ‘Brain-Eating Amoeba’ Kills 10 In Pakistan (huffingtonpost.com)
- Deadly Amoeba in Tap Water (foxnews.com)
Cross Post by Erin Kurt
Why is it easier to say something to our kids when we’re angry at them than when they are doing what we want them to do?
Picture a lazy Sunday afternoon and you’re reading your favorite magazine while sipping a cup of tea. Your children are in the next room playing a game together, having a wonderful time and getting along famously. What are the chances that you would get up, walk to the next room and say, “It’s so nice to see you two having such a great time together”? Probably slim. Why? Because when we parents are happy and content ourselves, we aren’t particularly motivated to move from what’s making us content.
Now imagine that your children in the next room begin screaming and arguing. Your heart begins to beat faster, anger begins to swell inside you and thoughts like, “What is going on? Why can’t they just play nicely? I was having such a relaxing time by myself!” begin to run through your head. Now you are motivated – you are MAD! What are the chances of you getting up, stomping into the next room and yelling at the kids to, “Be quiet!”?
Unfortunately, the outcome of this “Speak only when we see negative behavior Syndrome” is that our kids mostly hear from us when we have something negative to say rather than positive feedback. They receive the message that they are just annoying to us.
The antidote? Positive verbal and non-verbal reinforcement.
Here are 20 ways to show or tell your children that you appreciate their positive behaviors.
“Thanks for wiping the kitchen counter so nicely”
“I think you got ready for school in record time this morning!”
“I loved how you persevered after getting frustrated with your homework tonight.”
“I saw you on the soccer field. You played hard!”
“It was so nice dining out with you tonight.”
“Have I told you lately how much I appreciate how you keep your room so tidy?”
Give a rub on the back after your child has done something you asked.
Give your child a wink and a smile after they accomplish something difficult to show you are proud of them.
Give your child a thumb or two thumbs up after you see him/her completing a task around the house.
“Good job on that math test, Julie. I know you studied hard.”
“I’m so proud of how you _______________.”
“I’m so proud to call you my son/daughter.”
Write a special note and put it in your child’s desk at school.
Write a special note and put it in your child’s lunch bag.
Smile at your child and stroke their hair after they have made a good choice about something.
Buy a “just because” toy, game, or puzzle and attach a note or card expressing the reason you are giving the gift. Do they always hang up their coat which keeps your house tidy? Do they always finish their homework on time?
“That puppy really likes you!”
“Dad and I were so proud of the way you behaved tonight at our friend’s house. You were polite and tried to join in the conversation.”
“Wow, how creative. I like how you used the color purple here”
Leave a heart-shaped note in your child’s jacket pocket thanking him/her for a job well done on a task they always do around the house.
In order to remind themselves to use praise, some parents find it helpful to make a note and put it where they can see it often. The note might read, “notice the positive” or “catch ‘em doing good.”.
Catch your kids being good. It will have a profound effect on the atmosphere in your home. Whatever it takes, I assure you it will be worth it.
How do you reinforce the behavior in your household? Let us know in the comments below!
Erin A. Kurt, Stress-Free Parenting Expert, is founder of ErinParenting.com and the author of Juggling Family Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stress-Free Parenting, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to raise happy, respectful and well-adjusted kids in just 3 steps…guaranteed. Erin has also recently launched the Stress-Free Parenting Club, a private, exclusive club for women. For other great tips and to receive her stress-free parenting articles on how to parent without yelling and get your kids to listen to you the first time, visit http://www.erinparenting.com.