In a concerning revelation, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) in Islamabad is facing a dire shortage of chlorinated water, leaving employees, patients, and their families vulnerable to the deadly Naegleria infection. Despite repeated advisories from the National Institute of Health (NIH) about preventing and controlling Naegleria, this crucial issue remains unresolved.
Naegleria fowleri, a single-cell amoeba, is responsible for primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) or naegleriasis, an infection that invariably leads to fatalities. This amoeba thrives in warm freshwater sources such as lakes, pools, rivers, and hot springs.
Pims, with approximately 10,000 daily patients and an additional 10,000 attendants, has become a potential hotspot for Naegleria transmission. Drastic measures are needed to safeguard the public. Chlorinated water is essential as it effectively kills the amoeba and prevents infections.
Unfortunately, Pims currently lacks this crucial facility, forcing people to use non-chlorinated water for ablutions, posing a significant risk. Dr. Aneeza Jalil, the Pims spokesperson, could not be reached for comment, and the Ministry of National Health Services has promised to investigate the matter.
As the capital’s premier hospital, Pims must urgently address this issue to protect thousands from Naegleria infection.