A “brain-eating amoeba” has caused the death of a South Korean man in his 50s, says a news agency adding that the man had just returned from Thailand on Dec. 10, after a four-month stay there and might have caught the disease while swimming or being in close contact with another person who contracted the amoeba.
The authorities have since then urged people not to swim in the areas where the disease has been detected in Thailand while the man’s case is the first registered in South Korea.
Another agency says the man was admitted to a hospital the next day after displaying symptoms of meningitis and died on Dec. 20.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) says it had later conducted genetic tests on three types of pathogens causing Naegleria fowleri, to confirm the cause of death.
The testing confirmed the gene in the man’s body was 99.6 per cent similar to that found in a meningitis patient reported abroad.
The KDCA also recommended that travellers use clean water when going to areas where cases have been reported.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking contaminated water, but infections may happen when people use contaminated tap water to clean their noses.