Three deaths in a fortnight caused by water-induced brain-eating amoeba in Karachi is an alarming situation. The infection caused by this water-borne amoeba is deadly and a relatively new thing in Pakistan, with the first-ever case recorded in 2008, but it raises the question that whether the water in Karachi is being chlorinated as by per standard WHO levels. With the last death reported in Karachi Central, the total number of loss of life has become eleven this year alone. Water supply system needs to be checked urgently for any plugs that might be required to seal the broken pipes.
Naegleria fowleri, the amoeba, enters the human body through nasal contact with contaminated water and travels directly to the brain. 98% cases of infection are fatal and life-taking. Karachi’s health department has already established presence of the amoeba in various localities and while more water samples are being collected, it is important that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation jumps in and actively revisit its water chlorination process and SOPs. Karachi’s health department also advises the citizens to remain vigilant.
As careless lifestyles have it, water-supplying home tanks are rarely cleaned. The residents, where the deaths have been reported, must take up initiative and keep their internal water distribution system clean. Nasal rinsing can be avoided or an alternative must be adopted while the threat of infection is still there. A greater responsibility certainly befalls on the shoulders of the local administration and since the cases have recurred, it means there are loopholes in the water distribution system.
Since 2012, 100 cases of infection caused by brain-eating amoeba have been recorded in Karachi. This implies there is a greater need for renovating the water infrastructure and city needs overhaul in sewerage, drainage, water distribution mechanism. Karachi has multiple problems exacerbated by insufficient infrastructure and now when it is causing deaths of citizens, all relevant authorities must ensure that the problem is fixed as soon as possible.