Woman uses neti pot, dies from brain-eating amoeba

Researchers believe that she contracted the amoeba while using the neti pot because she used filtered tap water rather than saline or sterile water, the latter of which is recommended.

Once in her body, the amoeba slowly went about its deadly work. Her doctor told her it was rosacea and prescribed an ointment, according to the report. Over the course of a year, dermatologists hunted for a diagnosis. He took a sample and sent it for analysis. An initial CT scan revealed what doctors believed was a tumor. The mass was growing, and new lesions were starting to show up.

"We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoebae", Dr. Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center, told the Seattle Times.

The 69 year-old, who has not been named, was taken to the Swedish Medical Center near her home in Seattle after suffering a seizure this year. It was microscopic amoebas that were feasting on her brain. But what doctors initially thought was a brain tumor turned out to be rare amoebas that were attacking her brain. Since 1993, the CDC says, there have been at least 70 cases in the United States. The fatality rate is almost 100 percent.

The amoeba is similar to Naegleria fowleri, which has been the culprit in several high-profile cases.

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"If you do use a neti pot, for instance, you should be very aware that it has to be absolute sterile water or sterile saline", said Dr. Cobbs.

Unfortunately, this woman became one of these fatalities, dying just one month after the surgery.

Patel stressed that rinsing the sinuses with salt water is an extremely safe and effective method of keeping the sinuses clear, "as long as patients know to use distilled water when they are doing it". "This precedent led us to suspect the same route of entry for the. amoeba in our case".

Doctors are warning people about the dangers of using nonsterile water in neti pots after it was determined that a 69-year-old Seattle woman died from brain-eating amoebas. This amoeba was not even known 20 years ago hardly.

Kristen Maki, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Health, said in an email that "Large municipal water supplies. have robust source water protection programs" and treatment programs, and she noted that "Well protected groundwater supplies are logically expected to be free of any such large amoeba" such as Balamuthia.

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