Publication Date



PLoS One


Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) is a rapidly progressing central nervous system (CNS) infection caused by Naegleria fowleri, a free-living amoeba found in warm freshwater. The disease progression is very rapid, and the outcome is nearly always fatal. We aim to describe the disease course in patients admitted with PAM in a tertiary care center in Karachi, Pakistan between the periods of 2010 to 2021. A total of 39 patients were included in the study, 33 males (84.6%). The median age of the patients was 34 years. The most frequent presenting complaint was fever, which was found in 37 patients (94.9%) followed by headache in 28 patients (71.8%), nausea and vomiting in 27 patients (69.2%), and seizures in 10 patients (25.6%). Overall, 39 patients underwent lumbar puncture, 27 patients (69.2%) had a positive motile trophozoites on CSF wet preparation microscopy, 18 patients (46.2%) had a positive culture, and 10 patients had a positive PCR. CSF analysis resembled bacterial meningitis with elevated white blood cell counts with predominantly neutrophils (median, 3000 [range, 1350-7500] cells/μL), low glucose levels median, 14 [range, 1-92] mg/dL), and elevated protein levels (median, 344 [range, 289-405] mg/dL). Imaging results were abnormal in approximately three-fourths of the patients which included cerebral edema (66.7%), hydrocephalus (25.6%), and cerebral infarctions (12.8%). Only one patient survived. PAM is a fatal illness with limited treatment success. Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of treatment can improve the survival of the patients and reduce mortality.


Male, Humans, Adult, Pakistan, Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections, Naegleria fowleri, Spinal Puncture, Amebiasis, Meningoencephalitis

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