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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014 Aug 14;8(8):e3017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003017. eCollection 2014 Aug.

Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis caused by Naegleria fowleri: an old enemy presenting new challenges.

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Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.


First discovered in 1899, Naegleria fowleri is a protist pathogen, known to infect the central nervous system and produce primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. The most distressing aspect is that the fatality rate has remained more than 95%, despite our advances in antimicrobial chemotherapy and supportive care. Although rare worldwide, most cases have been reported in the United States, Australia, and Europe (France). A large number of cases in developing countries go unnoticed. In particular, religious, recreational, and cultural practices such as ritual ablution and/or purifications, Ayurveda, and the use of neti pots for nasal irrigation can contribute to this devastating infection. With increasing water scarcity and public reliance on water storage, here we debate the need for increased awareness of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis and the associated risk factors, particularly in developing countries.

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