Friday, 18 January, 2019

Brain-eating amoebas kill woman who used tap water in neti pot

Brain-Eating Amoeba Found In A Seattle Woman Brain-eating amoebas kill woman who used tap water in neti pot
Melissa Porter | 10 December, 2018, 05:10

Case in point: After using non-sterile water in her neti pot, a Seattle woman died from a rare brain-eating amoeba. The CDC found evidence of the amoeba in both the woman's brain tissue and tissue from the rash on her nose, Cobbs said.

"When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush", Charles Cobbs, MD, a neurosurgeon at Swedish, told The Seattle Times.

"There were these amoebae all over the place just eating brain cells".

"We didn't have any clue what was going on", he added.

Three types of amoebas have been identified as causing fatal brain infections, according to Jennifer Cope, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's unit that focuses on foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases.

Doctors think the 69-year-old woman became infected by using a neti pot to clear her sinuses.

A woman who met a tragic fate after routinely rinsing out her sinuses is thought to have died because she put tap water in her neti pot. However, during the surgery, the doctors discovered that, in reality, that formation was not a brain tumor but a rare brain-eating amoeba.

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.

A person can not get infected from swallowing water contaminated with it, and it can not pass from person to person.

Dr. Cobbs wrote about the case for a recent edition of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

After the operation, the woman was sent home, according to the report. There have been over 200 diagnoses of the disease worldwide, 70 of which were in the United States, per the CDC. For about a year, the sore was misdiagnosed and being treated as a common, treatable skin condition known as rosacea, the study said. It can only grow on mammalian cells and other amoebas, the report said.

Cobbs: "This is an extraordinarily unusual disease that has only been reported a few hundred times in the world". He was believed to have gotten infected while surfing in an indoor water park in Texas. Unlike N. fowleri, however, which kills its human victims in a matter of days, the B. mandrillaris amoeba requires more time to inflict its damage.

"He thought it looked suspicious for amoeba infection. Because it wasn't directly from the nose to the brain, it somehow ended up in the brain way back here", said Cobbs, pointing to the back of his head.