Woman dies from rare brain-eating amoeba after using tap water

Woman dies from rare brain-eating amoeba after using tap water

A Seattle woman unwittingly injected deadly brain-eating amoebas into her nasal cavity when she rinsed out her sinuses with tap water, according to a new report. Infectious disease doctors contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and they sent medicine for the rare condition, but the woman could not be saved.

But how did the amoebas get in her brain in the first place?

"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".

Neti pots are used to pour saline into one nostril and out of the other to irrigate the sinuses, usually to fight allergies or infections. However, instead of using sterile water, she used tap water that had been run through a store-bought filter.

More news: Liverpool FC owner’s wife salutes Mo Salah after his hat-trick

"When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush", Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center, told the Seattle Times. Later, the CDC determined that the infection was cause by the "brain-eating" amoeba B. mandrillaris. After experiencing an intense seizure and an apparent loss of brain cognition, doctors started to investigate the possibility of the problem being in her brain. It was declared a distinct species in 1993, according to the report. The fatality rate is almost 100 percent.

A person can not get infected from swallowing water contaminated with it, and it can not pass from person to person. In 1990, researchers first became aware that this type of amoeba can cause disease in people, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in November. In cases involving N. fowleri, for example, people have contracted the amoeba by jumping into a lake and having water shoot up their noses. The CDC found evidence of the amoeba in both the woman's brain tissue and tissue from the rash on her nose, Cobbs said. In this case, however, it was the neti rinse device that delivered the amoebas, via infected tap water, into her nasal passages and into her olfactory nerves, the scientists said.

With no diagnosis, her condition continued to decline and she developed more lesions on her brain. "Repeat CT imaging demonstrated further hemorrhage into the original resection cavity. There's been about 200 cases world-wide", Dr. Cobb said. Within a week, she was in a coma, and her family chose to take her off life support. As long as we wash the containers properly and use either boiled or saline water we should be OK.

Related Articles