Woman dies from rare brain-eating amoeba after using tap water


Upon further investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently chose to test the water at a Texas surf resort he visited before getting sick.

But how did the amoebas get in her brain in the first place?

But even though the woman used tap water, the odds were in her favor that she would have been fine.

She was advised to try and flush out her sinuses and nasal cavity using water.

In order to prevent any risk of infection, people should always read the instructions on a neti pot and only use saline or sterile water. These sorts of infections are quite rare, but what's unique about this incident is that it's the "first case of Balamuthia mandrillaris brain infection suspected from nasal lavage", according to the case study, which was authored by Swedish scientists and the doctors who worked on the case, Cobbs included. Unlike N. fowleri, however, which kills its human victims in a matter of days, the B. mandrillaris amoeba requires more time to inflict its damage.

"Then, about one year after the initial development of the nasal rash, the patient was seen at an outside hospital due to a left upper extremity focal seizure". It was declared a distinct species in 1993, according to the report.

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Amoebic brain infections are more common in warmer waters in the South, but might become more common in northern states thanks to global warming, experts say. Ninety percent of those cases were fatal.

According to Dr. Zara Patel, a professor of otolaryngology at Stanford University, when people use contaminated water to rinse their nose and sinuses, they can be at risk for aggressive infections.

The amoeba is similar to Naegleria fowleri, which has been the culprit in several high-profile cases.

However, using tap water with a neti pot isn't safe, according to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

"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. She underwent surgery at Seattle's Swedish Medical Center to remove what lead neurosurgeon Charles Cobbs thought was a brain tumor, the study said. Repeat CT imaging demonstrated further haemorrhage into the original resection cavity. "At this point, the family made a decision to withdraw support", the report continued.

Health officials suggest using only distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to rinse sinuses. In the meantime, the scientists recommend that doctors conduct amoeba testing in cases of nasal sores and ring-enhancing brain lesions.