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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released a warning about Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), commonly known as Naegleriasis or “brain-eating amoeba.” This infectious disease affects the central nervous system and can be quite serious.

Since 2008, hospitals in Karachi have reported deaths related to PAM during the summer months. The advisory emphasizes that the risk of Naegleria fowleri infection increases in high temperatures, especially when combined with poorly chlorinated water in early summer. The goal of the advisory is to alert public health authorities, water and sanitation agencies, and other stakeholders to take necessary actions to prevent and control PAM, particularly in areas where cases are reported annually.

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Naegleria fowleri cannot survive in clean, cool, and chlorinated water, making chlorine the most effective way to disinfect swimming pools and water systems.

To minimize the risk of infection, people are advised to refrain from jumping or diving into warm freshwater or thermal pools. Additionally, it’s important to keep the head above water when in spas, thermal pools, and warm freshwater. Daily emptying and cleaning of small collapsible wading pools are recommended. Swimming pools and spas should be adequately chlorinated and well-maintained. When using un-chlorinated water, individuals should avoid allowing water to enter their noses during bathing, showering, or washing their faces.

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