Amoebic infection detected in five-year-old from Kerala’s Malappuram

According to sources, this rare brain infection is caused by Naegleria fowleri, which is also called ‘brain-eating amoeba’.

Updated - May 16, 2024 10:01 am IST

Published - May 15, 2024 08:30 pm IST - Kozhikode

A case of amoebic meningoencephalitis has been reported in a five-year-old girl from Munniyur in Malappuram district. The patient is now undergoing medical treatment at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode.

According to sources, this rare brain infection is caused by Naegleria fowleri, which is also called ‘brain-eating amoeba’. The child had taken a bath along with relatives at the Kadalundi river near her home on May 1. She was taken to a paediatrician on May 10 for headache and vomiting. On May 12, the girl again complained of vomiting and nausea and was taken to a private hospital at Chelari. From there, she was shifted to the medical college hospital. The others who took bath in the river along with her are under medical observation. They are in the 5-12 age group.

This amoeba lives in fresh warm water, such as lakes and rivers. It infects the people when it enters their body through the nose. The amoeba travels up to the brain from the nose, where it destroys the brain tissues and cause swelling. Cases of the infection have earlier been reported from Malappuram and Alappuzha in recent times.

A release from the office of Health Minister Veena George said on Wednesday that the best possible treatment would be provided to the girl. There are no effective drugs to treat the infection. However, a combination of drugs that are considered to be effective against the amoeba is being used now. Efforts are also being made to procure effective medicines from abroad. Containment steps are being taken up in Munniyur and surrounding areas. Those who have symptoms such as fever after taking bath from the river have been asked to seek medical treatment, the release added.

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