Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Neti pot Seattle death: Doctors issue warning after brain infection ki

Neti pot Seattle death: Doctors issue warning after brain infection ki

They got worse and worse over a year, until she had a seizure - and doctors discovered the amoebas chewing away at her brain. "There were these amoeba all over the place just eating brain cells".

"The pathologist was able to look at it under a microscope and see the characteristic, actually the amoeba, in the tissue", said Dr. Charles Cobbs, Swedish Neuroscience Institute.

The woman, doctors realized, had been infected with Balamuthia mandrillaris, a type of amoeba that can infect the brain and cause massive damage.

"This is extremely rare".

The specific amoeba that killed the Seattle woman moves slowly, which is why it went undetected for a year. "There's been about 200 cases world-wide", Cobbs said, according to Q13 News. "It was just dead brain tissue", he tells Live Science. Her doctor told her it was rosacea and prescribed an ointment, according to the report. Within a week, she was in a coma, and her family made a decision to take her off life support.

"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). It was microscopic amoebas that were feasting on her brain.


They think that she did so with tap water for a year, and that this may have led to the amoeba infecting her brain. It can happen in other places, too - one case in Texas might have been contracted at a surf resort, McClatchy previously reported.

The answer lies in a common instrument known as a neti pot, a teapot-shaped product used to rinse out the sinuses and nasal cavity.

"However, unfortunately it is possible for these organisms to get into tap water as well at times, and that's why I do always counsel my patients to use distilled water when rinsing".

"It's extremely important to use sterile saline or sterile water", Dr. Cobbs said. "So that's what we suspect is the source of the infection", Cobbs said, according to KIRO.

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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