Kozhikode: A 12-year-old boy has been afflicted by amoebic meningoencephalitis, a rare brain infection caused by a free-living amoeba found in contaminated waters, in Kozhikode district of Kerala, according to sources in the private hospital where he is being treated. This is the third case of a near fatal infection reported from the southern state since May.

The first one was of a five-year-old girl from Malappuram who died on May 21 and the second of a 13-year-old girl from Kannur who died on June 25.

The third case is of a 12-year-old boy from Kozhikode who was admitted in the Baby Memorial Hospital here on Monday.

One of the doctors treating him said that the infection was identified and the treatment commenced on the same day.

“We identified the infection in tests done at our labs and informed the DMO who took preventive measures by closing down access to the pond where the child had bathed,” the doctor said.

The samples were then sent for testing to a lab in Puducherry from where the printed PCR report is awaited officially confirming the infection, he said.

“The disease has a mortality rate of 95-100 per cent. The boy continues to be in critical condition,” the doctor said.

He said that the hospital was able to quickly identify the infection and begin treatment as it was the third case of the disease and the protocols were already in place to deal with it.

According to medical experts, the infection is caused when free-living, non-parasitic amoebae bacteria enter the body through the nose from contaminated water.

The Health Department on Thursday had asked people to exercise caution against amoebic meningoencephalitis.

“Bathing in stagnant water and diving in water should be avoided as much as possible as this disease has been reported in Kerala. Water in theme parks and swimming pools should be properly chlorinated to ensure that it is clean,” it had said.

The disease was earlier reported in coastal Alappuzha district in the state in 2023 and 2017.

The main symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, vomiting, and seizures.

  • Published On Jun 29, 2024 at 10:29 AM IST

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