A teenager from Kerala, India, has passed away due to a rare brain infection caused by a free-living amoeba. The boy had been suffering from a fever for over a week, and his condition deteriorated rapidly.
Infection Linked to Contaminated Waters
Health Minister Veena George confirmed that the rare infection was caused by free-living amoebae present in contaminated waters. The boy, a resident of Panavalli in Alappuzha district, frequently took baths in a nearby stream, which is believed to be the source of the infection.
Five Reported Cases of the Rare Infection
The minister stated that a total of five cases of this rare brain infection have been reported in the state since 2016. The first case was documented in 2016, followed by others in 2019, 2020, and 2022. All the infected patients, including the 15-year-old boy, unfortunately, lost their lives.
Symptoms and Mode of Transmission
The main symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, vomiting, and seizures. Doctors explain that the amoeba enters the human brain through the nose, causing the infection. Due to the severity of the condition, health officials are advising people to avoid bathing in contaminated water sources.
Uncommon and Climate-Related Infection
This brain infection, known as amebic meningoencephalitis, is exceptionally rare, with only 3.7 documented cases globally each year. It tends to occur more frequently in warmer climates. The parasite responsible for the infection can be found in soil and freshwater environments such as ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, hot springs, and untreated swimming pools.
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