A Seattle woman died after being infected by a. The woman told her doctor that she had used tap water in a Neti pot instead of salt or sterile water, according to the CBS KIRO branch. Doctors believe that an amoeba entered through its upper nasal cavity and entered its bloodstream, eventually reaching its brain.
A neurosurgeon at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle said that this is a rare situation, but it is warning patients to be sure to follow directions when they use a Neti vessel for nasal congestion and to use only boiled or distilled water. It is believed that the woman used tap water that she put in a jug with a filter.
The neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Cobbs, operated on the 69-year-old woman last January. She arrived at the hospital emergency room after suffering from convulsions. At the beginning the doctors thought that the woman had a tumor, as she had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. He also had a sore nose that did not go away.
When Cobbs operated for the first time, he discovered a tumor the size of a penny. He removed it and sent a sample to a Johns Hopkins pathologist for a second opinion.
"He thought it sounded suspicious of the amoeba infection." I was shocked because I had never seen it before, "Cobbs told KIRO-TV.
The woman's condition deteriorated rapidly. About two weeks later, Cobbs performed another surgery and removed a ball-sized mass. Infectious doctors contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and sent medicines for the rare condition, but the woman could not be saved.
How amoeba infections that eat the brain develop
According to the CDC, mostthey are associated with swimming . However, very rarely, there have been deaths associated with an & amoeba going up the nose.
A person can not be infected with ingestion of contaminated water and can not pass from one person to another. The infection can only occur when the infected water rises to the nose.
The woman's doctors say they think her death was ultimately linked to her use of the Neti pot.
"He had not boiled water, using sterile water or using a sterile saline solution, he had used the water that had been passed through a filter and maybe he was there and somehow the amoeba coming from somewhere else had come in. So this is what we suspect is the source of the infection, "Cobbs said. "This is so rare that there were only 200 cases ever."
The doctors who treated the woman also believe that the wound on his nose was connected. They wrote a case study for the International Journal of Infectious Diseases to educate other doctors about their rare discoveries.
"I think he actually got into the bloodstream and somehow ended up in the brain because it was not directly from the nose to the brain, but somehow it ended up in the brain so far," Cobbs said, pointing to the back of his head .
Health officials say that Neti vessels can be safe to use if you follow the instructions and fill them only with boiled or distilled water.
"It's not something to be scared of because it's extraordinarily rare, but there's still a lot to learn," Cobbs said.
The United States Food and Drug Administration also last yearand other nasal irrigation systems could lead to dangerous infections, including one with an amoeba that eats brain.
To use and take care of your Neti pot or similar device, the FDA recommends:
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Verify that the device is clean and completely dry.
- Prepare the salt rinse, both with the prepared mixture supplied with the device, and with that prepared.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.
- Wash the device and dry the inside with a paper towel or let it air dry between use and the other.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if the instructions do not clearly indicate how to use it or if you have any questions. Also consult your doctor before using any nasal irrigation system if your immune system is weakened for any reason.
Finally, some children diagnosed with nasal allergy as early as 2 years of age can benefit from nasal rinse. However, parents should consult with their pediatrician before use on children.