Five-year-old girl succumbs to amoebic meningoencephalitis in Kozhikode Government Medical College Hospital

She was under treatment at the Institute of Maternal and Child Health of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published May 21, 2024 | 10:25 AMUpdatedMay 21, 2024 | 10:25 AM

Naegleria fowleri infects people by entering the body through the nose, usually while swimming. The amoeba travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue and causes swelling of the brain. (Creative Commons)

A five-year-old girl who was undergoing treatment at the Government Medical College Hospital Kozhikode in Kerala for amoebic meningoencephalitis — a rare brain infection that is caused by Naegleria fowleri — passed away.

Fadwa passed away at around 11.30 pm on Monday, 20 May. She was under treatment at the Institute of Maternal and Child Health of the Medical College Hospital,

The state Health Department confirmed the infection on 15 May.

Naegleria fowleri infects people by entering the body through the nose, usually while swimming. The amoeba travels up the nose to the brain where it destroys the brain tissue and causes swelling of the brain.

Fadwa is a native of Kaliyattamukku in the Mooniyoor grama panchayath of the Malappuram district.

Also Read: Amoebic meningoencephalitis confirmed in 5-year-old girl

How did the girl get infected?

She is suspected to have been infected with the amoeba after she swam along with her relatives in the nearby Kadalundi River.

Following the confirmation of the infection, the health department ramped up the monitoring and awareness activities in the affected area.

Four other children who swam along with Fadwa, got discharged as their samples came back negative.

On 10 May, the child and a few others went for a swim in the Kadalundi River. Following that, she exhibited symptoms of fever, nausea and headache.

Initially, she was treated by a paediatrician. After her condition worsened, she was admitted to a private hospital on 12 May and was later referred to Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode.

A 15-year-old boy had died of amoebic meningoencephalitis in Alappuzha in July 2023.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)