World Bulletin / News Desk
A brain-eating amoeba has killed at least 10 people in Pakistan's most populous city since May, a World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.
Naegleria fowleri has a fatality rate of more than 98 percent. It is transmitted when contaminated water enters the body through the nose and cannot be passed person-to-person.
The 10 confirmed cases have all occurred in the southern port city of Karachi, said Dr Musa Khan, head of the WHO's Disease Early Warning System in Pakistan.
It is unclear if all cases have been reported as residents may not be familiar with the disease and Pakistan's hospitals are severely overstretched.
The amoeba travels from the nasal membranes to the brain. Symptoms are initially very mild, including a headache, stiff neck, fever and stomach pain. Death usually occurs five to seven days after infection.
Authorities are planning a campaign to raise awareness among health workers and the public, Khan said. Most health centres had already been alerted, he said.
"People should avoid getting water too deep into their nostrils and make sure their water supply is properly treated," he said. "Those with symptoms should seek help immediately."
Victims commonly catch it through swimming in infected water, but Khan said most of those who died did not have a history of swimming. Authorities were testing water from various parts of the city, he said.
The disease first surfaced in Karachi, a city of 18 million people, in 2006. This year's outbreak has been the first since then and the most recent deaths occurred last week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on its web site that in the 10 years from 2002 to 2011, 32 infections were reported in the United States.
MSF (Doctors Without Borders) has deployed 1,000 of its own staff in the stricken region, running centres that currently have 300 beds
On Wednesday, the residents of the two communities woke up just after the president ordered the quarantine only to find their community barricaded with soldiers and police officers preventing people from leaving or entering the two areas.
They were given ZMapp, a drug used on a handful of patients in the West African outbreak and produced by U.S.-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.
A local priest who asked not to be named said that the illness had affected several villages and estimated that the death toll was over 100 people.
The calculation highlights the dilemma facing officials considering how to distribute the tiny quantities of unproven drugs that are likely to be available in the near term
"We are hopeful and grateful to God and to the medical team that they are showing signs of improvement," Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown told a press conference on Tuesday.
The decision came as the Ivorian national football team is due to face Sierra Leone, one of the countries that had been hard hit by the Ebola outbreak, next month in Abidjan as part of the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifiers.
Infant products are particularly vulnerable to food safety scares in China after powdered milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of at least six infants in 2008
Countries that do not have Ebola cases must strengthen their capacity to detect and contain any cases immediately, the WHO said
At least twenty patients broke out of quarantine in the Liberian capital after protesters looted a medical clinic.
At the end of last year, 13,254 tonnes of spent fuel was being held in temporary storage at nuclear plants, according to data from the commission, mostly in water tanks but some in concrete containers.
The 35-year-old Nigerian woman was en route to India on a treatment tour from advanced cancer.
Doctors Without Borders International President Joanne Liu said it will take six months to bring the Ebola virus under control in West Africa.
The death toll from the world's worst outbreak of Ebola stood on Wednesday at 1,069 from 1,975 confirmed, probable and suspected cases, the agency said
Chinese scientists said Tibetan glaciers had shrunk 15 percent - around 8,000 square km (3,100 square miles) - over the past 30 years.