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techkenyot.com May 25, 2019


Brain-eating amoeba may have come from neti pot

08 December 2018, 02:49 | Silvia Roy

The 69-year-old Seattle woman stumped doctors earlier this year, when she was admitted to hospital after suffering a seizure.

The woman, who was 69 years old, died in February - roughly a month after doctors discovered the amoeba in her brain and about a year after she was initially infected.

An amoeba is a single-cell organism that can cause fatal disease in humans, and they live in warm soil and water.

According to a study recently published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, doctors believe the woman likely became infected when she used tap water in her neti pot, a teapot-like vessel used to flush out nasal passages.

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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", Dr. Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center, where the woman was treated, told the Times. A year later, she died of a brain-eating amoeba. "We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba". Since then, more than 200 cases have been diagnosed worldwide, with at least 70 cases in the US, the CDC says. He took a sample and sent it for analysis.

The case is the second-ever reported in Seattle - the first was in 2013. "At this point, the family chose to withdraw support", the report continued.

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. It can happen in other places, too - one case in Texas might have been contracted at a surf resort, McClatchy previously reported.

After using the prescribed neti pot for a month, she developed a rash near her nose, which was misdiagnosed as rosacea. "Often patients will think that using bottled water is fine and assume it is distilled, it that is actually not the case".

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A Seattle woman rinsed her sinuses with tap water. But then Hopkins pathologists came back with a verdict: The infection looked "amoebic", said Cobbs, who thought, "that's ridiculous", upon hearing the news.

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

The doctor and his colleagues believe the woman may have used a common plastic device called a neti pot, which lets users irrigate their sinuses by flushing water through it.

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