A 69-year-old woman died after contracting an amoeba infection in her brain, LiveScience reported.
Doctors suspected that she got the infection because she repeatedly cleaned out her sinuses with non-sterile tap water.
Other people have died after using amoeba-contaminated tap water in neti pots, a common device used for clearing sinuses.
Experts say a neti pot should be used with boiled and cooled tap water or distilled, sterile water purchased at a store.
A 69-year-old Seattle woman died after contracting a brain-infecting amoeba — and doctors suspect that her use of non-sterile water to clear her sinuses was to blame.
The woman’s story was detailed in a case report published in September by International Journal of Infectious Diseases, LiveScience reported Thursday.
At first, the woman was diagnosed with a simple sinus infection. But when a course of antibiotics didn’t improve her symptoms, doctors recommend that she try saline nasal irrigation — an at-home remedy in which a saline solution is poured into the nose to clean mucus or allergens out of the sinuses. It can be performed with a handful of different devices, but the best known is probably the teapot-shaped neti pot.
Experts recommend using sterile saline or water for nasal irrigation, but the woman instead used tap water that had been filtered using an at-home water purifier, the report said.
A month later, she developed a quarter-sized rash on her nose that didn’t go away despite several dermatologist visits. Then, a year after she starting using the neti pot, she had a seizure, and scans revealed a lesion in her brain. After two surgeries and some testing, doctors finally determined that her brain has been infected by amoebas. Despite aggressive treatment, the woman died.
The woman was infected by the Balamuthia mandrillaris amoeba
It wasn’t until after her death that testing revealed the precise amoeba responsible for the infection: Balamuthia mandrillaris. It’s an organism that can cause serious brain and spinal cord infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s been found in dust and soil around the world and may also exist in water. It was first discovered by scientists in 1986 and since then, about 200 cases of Balamuthia infection have been diagnosed worldwide.
Right now, little is known about how people contract Balamuthia infections, the CDC website …read more
Source:: Business Insider