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.
The plight of these urban areas show how dire the coming global freshwater shortage could get.
Coin-sized band analyzes blood glucose levels and releases insulin when needed
A WHO report has found that the use of lindane and DDT are linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Pope Francis has said that the emissions trading is a ploy to allow wealthy emitters to continue their work
Russian sewerage dump is responsible for declining fish stock in the Baltic seas.
A new cancer drug will be tested as part of a joint effort by AstraZeneca and Lilly.
Smart technology and regulation will aid challenges in global power sector, helping to lower the carbon emitted globally.
A deal between the richest nations in the world has been seen as unlikely, as OECD seeks to phase out export credits.
Soon more than 1 billion consumers in developing nations will be able to buy their first air conditioner, increasing energy demand which will impact global warming
The European Union has given new authorization for 10 new types of genetically modified crops have been approved for a 10 year use for human consumption and animal feed.
Guinea's President Alpha Conde announced new emergency measures in Ebola fight on Saturday
'Meetings happened. Action didn’t,' says Medecins Sans Frontieres report.
WHO said that on many levels, the world is better prepared now than ever before for aflu pandemic
Myanmar health officals say an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in Mandalay
Tokyo Electric said it has been aware since last spring that radiation levels in water running in one of the plant gutters rise when it rains
Safe drinking water is available at about one-third of the level it was before the conflict erupted nearly five years ago, and supplies are cut-off to punish civilians at times