Boy dies of infection caused by rare brain-eating amoeba in Kerala

This is the third case of fatal infection reported in the southern state since May.
E P Mridul
E P MridulPhoto | Special Arrangement

KOZHIKODE: A 12-year-old boy, who was undergoing treatment for primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) at a private hospital in Kozhikode, died on Wednesday night. This is the third fatality due to the rare ‘brain-eating’ amoeba infection in the state in the past two months.

E P Mridul, son of E P Ajith Prasad and Jyothi of Ramanattukara, was first taken to the government taluk hospital at Feroke after he complained of severe headache and vomiting last month.

Mridul, a Class VII student of Farook Higher Secondary School, started showing the symptoms after he bathed in a pond near Farook College. Following initial treatment, he was referred to the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode and later to a private hospital, where he was diagnosed with the . He had been in critical condition since June 24, and was on ventilator support at the time of his death.

V Dakshina,13, a resident of Kannur, died of the infection at a hospital in Kozhikode on June 12. On May 20, Fadva, a 5-year-old from Munniyur in Malappuram, diagnosed with PAM passed away at the Government MCH, Kozhikode.

Health dept set to issue special guidelines for treatment

Dakshina reportedly contracted the infection after bathing in a swimming pool during a school trip to Munnar, while Fadva got infected after bathing in Munniyoor river.

In response to these tragic events, the state health department is planning to issue special guidelines for the treatment and prevention of PAM. The disease is caused by Naegleria fowleri and Vermamoeba vermiformis, brain-eating amoeba found in warm fresh water bodies such as lakes and rivers. The infection occurs when the amoeba enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain, leading to the destruction of brain tissue and swelling. According to medical experts, early symptoms of PAM include headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting. PAM progresses rapidly. Most people with PAM die within one to eighteen days after the symptoms begin. It usually leads to coma and death after five days.

The health department has advised that children with ear infections avoid bathing in ponds or in stagnant water.

E P Mridul
13-year-old Kannur girl dies from rare amoebic infection, second fatality globally

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