Doctors blame tap water in neti pot for brain-eating amoeba

Henrietta Strickland
December 7, 2018

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.

Doctors came across something they never suspected while carrying out brain surgery on a 69-year-old woman in the USA: a slushy mess of dead brain tissue.

The case is the second-ever reported in Seattle - the first was in 2013. 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. "I think she was using water that had been through a water filter and had been doing that for about a year previously", Dr. Cobb said.

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

"It's extremely important to use sterile saline or sterile water", Dr. Cobbs said.

Dr. Charles Cobbs said when he operated it was just dead brain tissue. She used tap water that had been filtered with a Brita Water Purifier, while the report notes that it's safest to use sterile water or saline. Later, the CDC determined that the infection was cause by the "brain-eating" amoeba B. mandrillaris.

After a month of clearing her sinuses with the non-sterile water, a quarter-sized red rash appeared on the right side of her nose.

A year on, the woman started to develop some unusual symptoms, such as a odd red rash around the outside of her nasal passage.

The woman's brain infection went undiagnosed for so long because the type of amoeba she had was so uncommon and also moves very slowly, the Times stated.

According to Dr. Zara Patel, a professor of otolaryngology at Stanford University, when people use contaminated water to rinse their nose and sinuses, they can be at risk for aggressive infections.

But fear not, you shouldn't be terrified of your tap water. CNN reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently began testing the water at a Texas surf resort he visited before getting sick.

In this case, doctors pointed to the neti pot the woman had been using to clear up her sinuses.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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