Doctors blame tap water in neti pot for brain-eating amoeba

An MRI of the Seattle woman’s brain in January 2018. Doctors initially thought the ringed lesion on the left was a tumor because the woman had a history of breast cancer

An MRI of the Seattle woman’s brain in January 2018. Doctors initially thought the ringed lesion on the left was a tumor because the woman had a history of breast cancer

The woman's doctors say they weren't able to definitely link the infection to her neti pot, as the water supply to her home was not tested for the amoeba. But what doctors initially thought was a brain tumor turned out to be rare amoebas that were attacking her brain. Although the risk of infection to the brain is extremely low, people who use neti pots or other nasal-irrigation devices can almost eliminate it by following directions printed on the devices, including using only saline or sterilized water, Maree said.

Balamuthia mandrillaris: As Gizmodo reported, there have only ever been 200 reported cases of B. mandrillaris globally. She'd experienced a seizure that weakened her left arm.

The rash didn't go away, despite several visits to a dermatologist, the report said.

Most cases of brain eating amoebas have been found in places like California, Arizona and Texas but Dr. Cobbs did say that over time, because of climate change, the amoeba could learn to survive in cooler areas like here in Washington State. A specimen was sent to Johns Hopkins University for analysis.

"He thought it looked suspicious for amoeba infection".

"It's so exceedingly rare that I'd never heard of it", Cobbs said. But the woman's condition was deteriorating.

Surgeon Dr Charles Cobbs operated and removed a dime-sized tumor. There were three similar U.S. cases from 2008 to 2017. A rare amoeba (called Balamuthia mandrillaris) was feasting on her brain, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (IJID).

But fear not, you shouldn't be terrified of your tap water.

The researchers weren't able to test the woman's tap water, but people can not be infected by simply swallowing water contaminated with the amoebas, according to Cobbs. Infection can only occur when infected water goes up the nose.

"We believe that she was using a device to irrigate her sinuses that some people use called a neti pot".

"She had not been boiling water, using sterile water or using sterile saline. So that's what we suspect is the source of the infection", Cobbs said, according to KIRO. Since they thrive in warm soil and water, some local doctors are growing concerned that the woman's deadly infection could be among other southern-hemisphere diseases that may become spread northward toward the Pacific Northwest amid warming temperatures. "Because it wasn't directly from the nose to the brain, it somehow ended up in the brain way back here", said Cobbs, pointing to the back of his head. It's extremely important to use sterile saline or sterile water.

A woman who was told by her doctor to rinse her sinuses twice daily to clear up a chronic sinus infection died from a brain-eating amoeba.

Wash and dry your hands.

Finally, some children diagnosed with nasal allergies as early as the age of 2 may benefit from nasal rinses.

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