Woman dies from brain-eating amoeba after using neti pot

Then the numbness began on her left side.

Rather than filling up the neti pot with saline or sterile water as is recommended she used tap water filtered through a store-bough filter, researchers found.

The team at Swedish Medical Center believe the woman was using a device called a neti pot to irrigate her sinuses, which likely introduced the amoeba into her system.

Dr. Cobbs says the woman carried an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris that kills the brain cells slowly over time.

An amoeba is a single-cell organism that can cause fatal disease in humans, and they live in warm soil and water. "We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba", Cobbs added.

"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.

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"When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush", Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at Seattle's Swedish Medical Center, told the Times. "There's been about 200 cases worldwide", Dr. Cobbs said.

As reported by the Seattle Times, a woman was admitted to a local hospital's emergency department after suffering a seizure in January.

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

"There have been 34 reported infections in the U.S.in the 10 years from 2008 to 2017, despite millions of recreational water exposures each year", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although becoming infected is rare, Dr. Cobbs says people should always follow instructions and take precautions when using medical devices. But the case in Seattle signals that it can happen anywhere. She was advised to try and flush out her sinuses and nasal cavity using water.

Health officials suggest using only distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to rinse sinuses.

In the case report, the doctors said there was evidence of amoeba infection from neti pots before, but that they did not test the water their patients had been using, and so they could not be sure.

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