Brain-eating amoeba starts killing in Vietnam

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A man who died at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital last month was a victim of what is probably Vietnam's first-ever recorded case of the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri. 

The Hospital of Tropical Diseases said Wednesday (August 29) a male patient named P.V.T., 25, of Phu Yen Province died from primary amoebic meningoencephalitis a rare and usually deadly disease of the central nervous system caused by the amoeba.

According to his family, T. and his friends swam in a lake to catch oyster in a rural village near his hometown in mid-July.

T. then developed fever and headache and was admitted to Gia Dinh People's Hospital in HCMC. He was diagnosed with meningitis and transferred to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases on July 30.

Tests there showed the patient was infected with Naegleria fowleri. His condition got worse with unconsciousness, high fever and respiratory failure. He died the following day.

According to doctors, the amoeba may have penetrated into the nasal mucous membrane of the patient before entering his brain.

This is the first case of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis that the hospital has ever encountered, according to Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, the hospital's director.

"It may be the first case in the country as well," he said.

No previous reports media reports have mentioned the amoeba or the disease's existence in Vietnam.

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