Amoebic meningoencephalitis: 5-year-old in critical condition, family trying to get medicine from abroad

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Kozhikode: The unavailability of an essential medicine for the rare disease Amoebic meningoencephalitis has put the life of a five-year-old girl at further risk. The girl, who is from Kaliyattamukku in Moonniyur near Malappuram, is in critical condition and under ventilator support in the ICU of IMCH at Government Medical College here.

The family and the health authorities are trying their best to get their hands on the essential medicine – Miltefosine – from abroad as it is reportedly not available in the country at present as the disease is rare.

“We are trying our best to get the medicine. Our daughter is in critical condition and under ventilator support; we are hopeful of availing the medicine,” the girl’s uncle told Onmanorama.

The IMCH information desk told Onmanorama that the doctors and health experts are using all their sources to avail Miltefosine, which needs to be added to the medicine combination.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Veena George said the doctors are trying their best to provide speciality treatment to the girl. “There is no effective medicine for the disease Naeglaria. So, normally a combination of effective medicines is administered to the patient. We are trying to get the medicine from abroad at the earliest,” she said.

Four children (all below 12 years of age) of the same family are under observation at IMCH (Institute of Maternal and Child Health), while two teenagers are under observation at the hospital along with the adults who had tagged along with the children to the contaminated river.

“The kids are fine now. They don’t have any symptoms of this particular disease. The doctors confirmed it. So, no samples have been taken as of now,” said a relative who came from Chennai upon learning about the situation,

The girl’s father, who is an NRI, came down from Bahrain after being informed about his daughter’s condition. On May 1, the children and their mothers went to the Parakkal shore of the Kadalundy River to bathe. On May 10, the girl fell sick and was taken to a paediatrician. She was admitted to the IMCH on May 12.

“The doctors prescribed five medicines. We managed to access three of them. However, the doctors say she is not responding positively to the medicines given,” said the uncle.

Moonniyur panchayat under alert
Moonniyur panchayat officials were informed about the situation on Wednesday, soon after which the health wing of the local body prohibited access to Parakkal shore and warned the public to stay off the river until further instruction. “We have warned people to approach the family health centre if anybody shows any symptoms of fever’,” Abdul Muneer, ward member and health standing committee chairman, told Onmanorama.

“It’s a popular shore. Lots of people use the river. It is only today (Wednesday) that we found out about the situation,” he added.

Panchayat president N M Suhrabigoo said the water bodies in the panchayat are being chlorinated, especially the premises of Parakkal shore.

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