Lahore is grappling with its first Naegleria fowleri infection case after a 30-year-old bodybuilder, Mustafa Shafique, succumbed to the disease at the Services Hospital. 

Medical experts are alarmed about the appearance of the deadly organism in the city, a concern exacerbated by the apparent lack of awareness among the Punjab health authorities.

Shafique was admitted after complaining of severe headaches during a swimming session. The disease was confirmed through diagnostic tests performed in a private laboratory, but he did not survive despite intensive care.

Naegleria fowleri, often found in swimming pools, has previously claimed lives in Karachi and Sindh, leading the Sindh government to take serious steps in curbing the disease. The amoeba, found in clean water sources like swimming pools and water tanks, causes brain damage by feeding on the brain cells.

The infection is new in Punjab, where the disease had previously been absent. The fact that many swimming pools in Lahore and other parts of Punjab are operating without taking preventive measures, like chlorination, further escalates the risk.

Dr. Sabahat Habib, a former medical superintendent at the Lady Willingdon Hospital, emphasized the importance of proper chlorination of swimming pools and water tanks and urged regular cleaning of home water tanks.

 Despite the emerging threat, a health official of the Punjab government declined to comment.

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