oppn parties A Life Saved in Kolkata Despite Rare Disease

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  • Supreme Court warns Rahul Gandhi to be more careful in future but drops contempt proceedings in the "chor" case
  • In a flip-flop, Vodafone CEO says sorry to the government, sys no plan to exit India
  • Sabarimala case referred to a larger bench as the court says several contentious issues need deeper examination
  • 16 killed as the vehicle they were traveling in plunged into a deep gorge near Jammu
  • Vodafone CEO seeks government relief, saying India operations on the verge of collapse
  • Three teenagers killed in a major accident in Kolkata's New Town area when their Honda City rammed into a road divider and a Metro pillar. The car was mangled
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad not to publicly 'celebrate' Babri Masjid demolition day this year, all events will be closed door
  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
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A Life Saved in Kolkata Despite Rare Disease

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Do you or anyone you know swim in fresh water ponds or rivers in Kolkata? Beware and stop the practice for the time being. A “brain eating amoeba” that leads to the rare disease primary amoebic meningoencephelitis or PAM has been detected in a child in the city. Although chances of survival are negligible, the Times of India has reported that in this case, a team led by Dr Sushmita Banerjee, paediatric nephrologist at the Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) acted with a great degree of professional efficiency and managed to procure a drug that saved the child’s life.

The amoeba, naegleria fowleri, breeds in fresh water, enters the body through the nose and then attacks the brain by feeding on nerve tissues there. It also multiplies very quickly. The Kolkata doctors had first thought it was meningitis, but conducted tests for PAM once the lumbar puncture reports suggested extremely high cell count and CSF protein levels and his family told them that he was a regular swimmer in un-chlorinated waters. Despite badly affected kidneys, the doctors managed to make him live by giving doses of Miltefocin, a new and very effective drug procured in haste by the West Bengal Directorate of Health.

This was only the fifth survival case for PAM in India. The doctors’ feat is remarkable when one considers that in the US; only four people have survived out of the 135 recorded cases of the disease. It also underscores the fact that in cases where chances of survival are rare and the patient is sinking fast, doctors have to use out-of-the-box medical techniques. All doctors associated with the case deserve kudos, as does the WB Directorate of Health, for cutting through red tape to save a life.