A Seattle woman died of an infection after using her neti pot
A Seattle woman died of an infection after using her neti pot
Doctors blame tap water in neti pot for brain-eating amoeba
08 December, 2018, 07:24
If you're using a neti pot to pour water through your nasal passages and clean out your sinus cavities, you should only use sterile or saline water, doctors have warned after a Seattle woman died from a brain infection. "Within 1 week she was more somnolent and then became comatose...."
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Cobbs: "This is an amoeba that is just one of the things in the environment, so we're exposed to it all the time probably, and it's not really known to be something that injures humans but in a certain, extremely rare situation it can cause an infection like this". "We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba".
Dr. Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon in Seattle, thought the woman had a brain tumor.
Doctors came across something they never suspected while carrying out brain surgery on a 69-year-old woman in the U.S.: a slushy mess of dead brain tissue. "There's been about 200 cases world-wide", Dr. Cobb said. The amoeba was discovered by CDC scientists in the brain of a dead mandrill baboon in 1986, and it was declared a new species of amoeba in 1993. It can kill within days, not months, according to the Seattle Times.
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Lab results later revealed that the infection in her brain and nose rash were caused by an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris, which is often associated with a disease called granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE), according to the Center for Disease Control. Her doctor told her it was rosacea and prescribed an ointment, according to the report.
The woman's brain infection went undiagnosed for so long because the type of amoeba she had was so uncommon and also moves very slowly, the Times stated. "At this point, the family made a decision to withdraw support".
But even though the woman used tap water, the odds were in her favor that she would have been fine. "So that's what we suspect is the source of the infection", Cobbs said, according to KIRO. An official urged users to fill the pots only with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water, and to rinse and dry them after each use.
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. We believe that the neti pot she was using probably had gotten contaminated.
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