Four under observation test negative for amoebic meningoencephalitis in Kerala

Meanwhile, the health department has stepped up vigil in the Moonniyur area to prevent a possible outbreak.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

KOZHIKODE: The health department officials breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday after the test results of those under observation for amoebic meningoencephalitis turned negative.

Image used for representational purposes only
5-yr-old girl from Malappuram infected with amoebic meningoencephalitis

The tests were held after a 5-year-old girl from Moonniyur in Malappuram was diagnosed with the viral disease on Wednesday. She is battling for life at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital (MCH) on ventilator support. Efforts to source medicine for the extremely rare disease are also progressing.

As many as 14 people from three families, who took a dip in the area of the Moonniyur river from where the girl is suspected to have been infected, were kept under observation at the MCH. Of this, the test results of the four children --- the patient’s sister, paternal uncle’s daughter and son, and another child from the area --- have turned negative. They had accompanied the girl to swim in the river on May 1 and were admitted to the hospital two days ago with symptoms of the disease.

Meanwhile, the health department has stepped up vigil in the Moonniyur area to prevent a possible outbreak. The officials have asked those who bathed in the river at the location from where the child contracted the virus to seek medical treatment if they show symptoms of the disease. They have also restricted the public from bathing in the Kadalundy river in Moonniyur. The authorities of the Moonniyur panchayat and the health department are collecting details of those who bathed in the river in May. Under the leadership of Asha workers, the wells in the area were disinfected using bleaching powder.

It was on May 1 that the girl took a bath in the river near her house along with her relatives. On May 10, she was referred to a paediatrician near her residence after developing a fever, headache and vomiting. The girl was admitted to a private hospital in Chelari on May 12 and later shifted to another one in Kozhikode. However, as her health condition worsened, she was rushed to the MCH on the same day for expert treatment.

Amoebic meningoencephalitis is a rare disease that affects one in ten thousand people. It is caused by Naegleria fowleri, a variety of amoeba found in rivers, lakes and hot springs. The amoeba enters the human body through the nose while swimming and causes encephalitis, which seriously affects the brain.

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