Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis in Kerala – An Emerging Public Health Concern

  • Regu K Consultant, National Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
  • Rajendran R Consultant, National Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
  • Sayana Bhaskaran K Officer in Charge, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
  • Anila Rajendran Research Assistant, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
  • Tamizharasu W Technician, National Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Kozhikode, Kerala, India.
Keywords: Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis, Pathological Information, Naegleria fowleri


Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) is an acute and often fatal infection of the brain caused by the free living amoeboflagellate Naegleria fowleri. These amoebae are ubiquitous and found naturally in freshwater environments, such as pools, ponds, canals, lakes and rivers.  It is commonly called the ‘brain eating amoeba’ because it can cause a brain infection when water containing the amoeba move into the nose. PAM is often found in immuno-competent children and young adults, especially after having exposure with amoeba- contaminated water. Increasing incidence is reported worldwide. PAM is set apart by a mortality rate of 98% and the high mortality has been imputed to rapid onset of the illness, delayed diagnosis and lack of effective treatment protocol.  In Kerala, the first confirmed PAM case was reported in Alappuzha district in March 2016, and since then seven more cases were reported from the state, and all of them succumbed to the infection. The deadly clinical condition is often misdiagnosed and is grossly under-reported. This highly necessitates that ample awareness and education should be given to the health care providers and the public about the etiology of the illness with special emphasis on the mode of transmission and clinical presentations. This paper discusses the geo-demographic details and epidemiological and pathological information about N.fowleri cases reported in Kerala and emphasizes on the need of public health awareness and intervention activities to prevent the occurrence and spread of the disease in Kerala.

How to cite this article:
Regu K, Rajendran R, Bhaskaran K S, Rajendran
A, Tamizharasu W. Primary Amoebic
Meningoencephalitis in Kerala – An Emerging
Public Health Concern. J Commun Dis.


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