KOZHIKODE: A 12-year-old boy hailing from Ramanattukara in Malappuram has also tested positive for amoebic meningoencephalitis in tests conducted at a Puducherry laboratory.
This is the third such case to be reported in Malabar districts in one-anda-half months. He has been admitted to a private hospital here in a critical condition for the past four days.Two children hailing from Malappuram and Kannur had succumbed to the disease earlier.
Dr Abdul Rauf, consultant paediatric intensivist at Baby Memorial Hospital, said the boy’s symptoms were typical of Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), including rapid progression of disease and his condition was critical.
‘Treating boy with cocktail of 6 drugs’
We are treating him with a cocktail of six medicines… The boy developed symptoms like fever, headache and vomiting around 5-6 days after bathing in Achankulam pond near his house. On the seventh day, he lost consciousness and was brought to the hospital. We identified the disease and started treatment the same day,” he said, adding that they had sent samples of water taken from the pond for tests.
Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis is mostly linked to bathing or swimming in waters containing the amoeba, which enters the body through the nose. The amoeba then moves to the brain, where it destroys the brain tissue.
Ramanattukara municipality had closed the pond and conducted super chlorination. “We conducted a survey of 98 houses covering two wards to see if anyone had similar symptoms. None had any issues,” ward councillor Beena Prabha said.
Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, chairman of research cell at IMA Kerala, said there is no need for panic as amoebic meningoencephalitis is very rare. “People should take care not to take water into their nose while bathing and also not stir up the sludge in the bottom of pond,” he said.
Health officials said they had not issued a general alert as it was a rare instance.
A brain biopsy confirmed that a 13-year-old girl from Kannur, who died at a private hospital on June 12, had amoebic meningoencephalitis caused by free living amoeba Vermamoeba vermiformis. She is suspected to have got the infection after taking bath in a swimming pool during a school trip to Munnar on Jan 28. Unlike in PAM cases, where the symptoms crop up within five days of the amoeba entering the body, the disease progression was slow in her case.
A five-year-old girl from Munniyoor in Malappuram died of PAM, caused by Naegleria fowleri, on May 20. She had taken bath in the Munniyoor river on May 1.