Fourth case of rare brain-eating amoeba infection reported in Kerala

A14-year-old boy has been diagnosed with amoebic meningoencephalitis, a rare brain infection caused by amoeba in contaminated water

Three deaths reported so far from the rare brain infection
 (photo: IANS)
Three deaths reported so far from the rare brain infection (photo: IANS)


Another case of amoebic meningoencephalitis, a rare brain infection caused by a free-living amoeba found in contaminated waters, has been reported from Kozhikode in Kerala. A 14-year-old boy, a resident of Payyoli in this north Kerala district, is afflicted with the disease, according to sources in the private hospital where he is being treated.

This is the fourth case of the rare brain infection reported in the state since May and all the patients are children, three of whom have already died.

In the latest case, one of the doctors treating the boy said he was admitted to the hospital on 1 July, and his condition is improving. The doctor also said on Saturday that the infection was identified quickly at the hospital and treatment, including medicines from abroad, was started immediately.

On 3 July, another 14-year-old boy infected with the free-living amoeba died. Prior to that, two others, a five-year-old girl from Malappuram and a 13-year-old girl from Kannur, died on 21 May and 25 June respectively, from the rare brain infection.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday held a meeting in which several suggestions, including not to bathe in unclean waterbodies, were given to prevent further infections.

In the meeting, it was also suggested that there should be proper chlorination of swimming pools and children should be careful when entering waterbodies as they are mostly affected by this disease, the statement said.

The chief minister also said everyone should take care to keep waterbodies clean. Using swimming nose clips to prevent infection by the free-living amoeba was also suggested in the meeting.

Medical experts said the infection occurs when free-living, non-parasitic amoebae bacteria enter the body through the nose from contaminated water. The disease was earlier reported in coastal Alappuzha district in the state in 2023 and 2017.

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