World health officials are investigating after a ‘brain-eating’ amoeba claimed the lives of ten people in Pakistan. The deaths occurred in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and have caused enormous concern in the international health community. According to Musa Khan, head of the World Health Organization’s Disease early Warning System in Pakistan said that the majority of the deaths occurred between late spring and early fall and were caused by an amoeba that lives in warm, dirty bodies of fresh water called the Naegleria fowleri. In response to the outbreak, Pakistani officials have been trying to ensure access to clean fresh water for city residents and have launched a public awareness campaign warning the public and health care practitioners about the amoeba. Khan also told the Associated Press that “There is no need to panic over these deaths. There is a remote chance for the spread of this deadly disease.” According to the Center for Disease Control, the disease is called primary amebic meningoencephalitis and occurs when the amoeba, which resides in infested water, enters through the nasal cavity. Once it enters the nose it travels to the brain. The amoeba is extremely rare in the US, there have only been 32 reported cases since 2002 but it is also extremely deadly. Of the 123 known cases in the US since the 60’s there has only been one survivor.
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