Around 18 people have been killed by a mysterious illness, which includes mostly children, in the Kemari area of Karachi with health officials failing to discover the cause of the deaths in this southern port city of Pakistan. Director of Health Services Abdul Hameed Jumani on Friday stated that 18 people, including 14 children, lost their lives due to the mysterious illness in Kemari’s Mawach Goth area between January 10 and 25.

“A health team is working right now to find the cause of these deaths but we suspect it may be related to the sea or water as the goth (village) where these deaths have taken place is close to the coastal belt,” he said.


Mawach Goth is one of the slum areas in Karachi and the people living here are either fishermen or daily wage earners. 

Jumani stated that the families of the people who died due to the mysterious illness confirmed that the deceased had swelling in throats, high fever and faced difficulty in breathing.

“Some residents have also complained that in the last two weeks, there is a strange smell in the area,” said the official. 

Kemari’s Deputy Commissioner Mukhtar Ali Abro said that a factory owner has been detained by them for questioning.

“We have called the provincial environmental agency as well which has collected samples from three factories which were operating in the area,” he said.

One family’s six members lost their lives due to a mysterious illness while a man lost his three children and wife after they suffered a similar illness. 

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Head of the Sindh Centre for Chemical Sciences Iqbal Chaudhary stated that soya bean samples have been collected by them from factories and they fear that the people have died due to soya allergy.

“Even particles of soya bean dust in the air can cause serious illnesses and deaths and air pollution and weather play a big role. We are yet to reach a definite finding but the samples are being examined,” said Chaudhary.  

(With inputs from agencies)

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