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What is Naegleria Fowleri? South Korea reports first infection due to 'brain-eating amoeba'

The first infection from Naegleria fowleri, famously known as 'brain-eating amoeba', has been reported in South Korea, according to health officials. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) confirmed that a 50-year-old Korean Man, who returned from Thailand, died due to the infection of Naegleria fowleri.

What is Naegleria Fowleri? South Korea reports first infection due to 'brain-eating amoeba' - adt
First Published Dec 27, 2022, 2:52 PM IST

The famously known 'brain-eating amoeba' Naegleria fowleri, has been linked to the death of an individual, making it the first case of the fatal condition in South Korea, according to the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency. 

Following the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the US health agency, Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba (single-celled living organism) that lives in soil and warm freshwater, including lakes, rivers and hot springs. It's famously known as a 'brain-eating amoeba' as it can cause a brain infection when water containing the amoeba enters the nose. 

Each year, about three people in the United States become infected; however, these infections are usually fatal. 

Naegleria fowleri causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that damages brain tissue. Due to the infection's destruction of brain tissue, the brain swells. Early PAM symptoms and signs may resemble those of bacterial meningitis. 

Although they can appear anywhere between 1 and 12 days after infection, the first PAM symptoms usually appear five days later. The common symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. Some of the most severe symptoms that can develop later are seizures, hallucinations, stiff neck, confusion, and coma.

As the symptoms appear, the disease rapidly progresses, resulting in death within five days (but death can happen within 1 to 18 days). The death rate exceeds 97 per cent. From 1962 to 2021, only four people have survived out of 154 known infected individuals in the United States. 

Also read: RT-PCR test mandatory for travellers from China, Japan, S Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand: Mandaviya

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