Woman dies from rare brain-eating disease after using neti pot

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A Seattle, Washington woman whose brain was partly a "ball of bloody mush" after rare brain-eating amoebas infected her likely contracted the organisms after she used a neti pot full of tap water to clear her sinuses, according to a report. But what doctors initially thought was a brain tumor turned out to be rare amoebas that were attacking her brain. Now a case study recently published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases has shed light on how the amoeba entered her brain.

Finally, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center, where the woman was being treated, opened her skull to examine her brain and found that it was infected with amoebae. "We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba".

"This is extremely rare".

They think that she did so with tap water for a year, and that this may have led to the amoeba infecting her brain.

Doctors took the woman into critical care and quickly sent word to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which rushed a shipment of an anti-amoeba drug called miltefosine.

"Improper nasal irrigation has been reported as a method of infection for the comparably insidious amoeba", the doctors say in the research paper about the Seattle woman.

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As if that wasn't bad enough luck, the woman also died from the type of amoeba that is least-known by doctors - Balamuthia mandrillaris.

"There were these amoebae all over the place just eating brain cells. At this point, the family made a decision to withdraw support". There have been over 200 diagnoses of the disease worldwide, 70 of which were in the USA, per the CDC.

According to the doctors who treated the woman, the non-sterile water that she used it thought to have contained Balamuthia mandrillaris, an amoeba that over the course of weeks to months can cause a very rare and nearly always fatal infection in the brain.

"She had not been boiling water, using sterile water or using sterile saline". She was advised to try and flush out her sinuses and nasal cavity using water. "So that's what we suspect is the source of the infection", Cobbs said, according to KIRO. However, instead of using sterile water, she used tap water that had been run through a store-bought filter.

In 2011, Louisiana health officials warned residents not to use nonsterilized tap water in neti pots after the deaths of two people who were exposed to Naegleria fowleri while flushing their nasal passages.

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