Alappuzha: A fifteen-year-old boy, Guruduth, has tragically died after he was affected by the rare disease, Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). It is a rare brain infection that is caused by an ameba called Naegleria fowleri and is mostly fatal. The PAM related deaths have been reported earlier also from Alappuzha.
Guruduth, a resident of Cherthala in Alappuzha district, fell sick after he had a bath at a pond.
Health Minister, Veena George, told the media that the fatality rate for PAM infection is 98%. This disease is not transmitted from human to human. The minister said that PAM was first reported in 2016 from Alappuzha municipality area. All of the five people that had contracted PAM earlier succumbed to the disease, said the health minister. This is the first time the disease is being reported after the earlier incidents.
Guruduth began developing fever on June 29. Following that, he began suffering from severe headache and loss of vision and was admitted to the Thuravoor Taluk Hospital on July 1.
After his condition began to deteriorate, the doctors suggested that he must be transferred to the Alappuzha Medical College. However, Guruduth passed away today afternoon.
The disease causing microbe belongs to the amoebic family and lives independently in water bodies. It is found in ponds and streams. It can enter the human body through the nose or through tender skin. It usually happens through contact with the water bodies while bathing or swimming. It then severely infects the brain of an individual by destroying the brain tissue and causes swelling of the brain.
Initial symptoms of PAM is headache, fever, nausea, vomiting. The later symptoms include stiffness of neck, confusion, lack of attention, seizures, hallucinations and coma. The death occurs within about 5 days. It is believed that people cannot get infected with Naegleria fowleri from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria.