A Seattle woman died of an infection after using her neti pot

Frederick Owens
December 9, 2018

An elderly woman was killed by a brain-eating amoeba after using filtered tap water to clear her sinuses.

But when Cobbs operated to remove the mass, "it was just dead brain tissue", making it hard to determine what it actually was.

"There were these amoebas all over the place just eating brain cells", Cobbs tells the Seattle Times.

'We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue, we could see it was the amoeba'.

When a 69-year-old Seattle woman underwent brain surgery earlier this year at Swedish Medical Center, her doctors were stumped.

'I think she was using (tap) water that had been through a water filter and had been doing that for about a year previously'.

Doctors came across something they never suspected while carrying out brain surgery on a 69-year-old woman in the United States: a slushy mess of dead brain tissue. The CDC says it's possible that the amoeba may also live in water.

The researchers weren't able to test the woman's tap water, but people can not be infected by simply swallowing water contaminated with the amoebas, according to Cobbs.

The contaminated water went up the woman's nose "toward [the] olfactory nerves in the upper part of her nasal cavity", The Seattle Times reported, which ultimately caused the infection which first appeared as a red sore on her nose.

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

Eventually she reportedly developed a rash on her nose and raw skin near her nostrils, which was misdiagnosed as rosacea, a skin condition.

But they would soon learn that what was inside the woman's skull was not a tumor at all.

In 2011, Louisiana health officials warned residents not to use nonsterilized tap water in neti pots after the deaths of two people who were exposed to Naegleria fowleri while flushing their nasal passages.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rushed the anti-amoeba drug miltefosine to Seattle to try to save the woman's life, but she fell into a coma and died.

Indeed, the ensuing biopsy report showed that the woman had been infected with a rare brain-eating amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris. He was believed to have gotten infected while surfing in an indoor water park in Texas.

Her case is reported this week in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

She contracted an amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris.

"From my understanding it's everywhere. MRSA (a treatable bacterial infection) is everywhere, but we don't have a mechanism of injecting it into our brain", Cobbs said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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