A Seattle woman died of an infection after using her neti pot

08 December, 2018, 05:16 | Author: Kara Nash
  • Woman Uses Neti Pot, Ends Up With Brain-Eating Amoeba

And that's where things went wrong, according to a recent report of the woman's case.

The 69-year-old Seattle resident died in February after undergoing brain surgery at Swedish Medical Center. After experiencing an intense seizure and an apparent loss of brain cognition, doctors started to investigate the possibility of the problem being in her brain. But they weren't able to test her tap water to confirm the Balamuthia mandrillaris amoebas were there. "I think she was using (tap) water that had been through a water filter and had been doing that for about a year previously". However during surgery, they discovered it was something much more unusual. A specimen was sent to Johns Hopkins University for analysis.

Cobbs said it's theoretically possible for other people to be infected with the same deadly amoeba, but that it's a very, very rare occurrence.

The woman's condition quickly deteriorated.

Dr. Cobbs says the woman carried an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris that kills the brain cells slowly over time. When the doctors looked at these samples of the tissue under the microscope, they could see the amoebas.

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.


According to the CDC, most brain infections from amoebas are associated with swimming in warm freshwater lakes and rivers.

A study published by the International Journal of Infectious Diseases determined that the woman contracted the brain infection by using a neti pot filled with non-sterile water to treat a sinus infection a year earlier. But if you do use a neti pot, "definitely use sterile water or saline", he added.

A person can not get infected from swallowing water contaminated with it, and it can not pass from person to person.

"She had not been boiling water, using sterile water or using sterile saline". There have only been around 200 reported cases of infection worldwide, although around 70 of those cases were in the US alone, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Most of the cases reported in the United States where this happen are from people using shallow well water or other sources that are known to be at higher risk of contamination", she told Global News.

"After a month of using non-sterile water for nasal lavage without success, she developed a quarter-sized red raised rash on the right side of the bridge of her nose and raw red skin at the nasal opening, which was thought to be rosacea", the report states.

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