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

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

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

In order to prevent any risk of infection, people should always read the instructions on a neti pot and only use saline or sterile water.

A year ago the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also issued a warning that improper use of Neti pots and other nasal irrigation systems could lead to risky infections, including one with a brain-eating amoeba.

Brain-eating amoeba infections usually occur when water is forced up the nose, according to the CDC, particularly "when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers".

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As if that wasn't bad enough luck, the woman also died from the type of amoeba that is least-known by doctors - Balamuthia mandrillaris. Doctors thought it was a rash and prescribed an antibiotic ointment, but that provided no relief. A specimen was sent to Johns Hopkins University for analysis. 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. The mass was growing, and new lesions were starting to show up.

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

The woman died a month later, and according to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, doctors believe she became infected when she used Brita-filtered tap water in her neti pot - a teapot-like vessel used to flush out nasal passages - instead of saline or sterile water to treat a sinus infection. But what doctors initially thought was a brain tumor turned out to be rare amoebas that were attacking her brain.

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The amoeba was discovered in 1986. There have been over 200 diagnoses of the disease worldwide, 70 of which were in the USA, per the CDC. The fatality rate is almost 100 percent.

The amoeba is similar to Naegleria fowleri, which has been the culprit in several high-profile cases. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that only distilled or sterile water be used for sinus irrigation. "This precedent led us to suspect the same route of entry for the. amoeba in our case".

An elderly woman was killed by a brain-eating amoeba after using filtered tap water to clear her sinuses. They hope her case will let other doctors know to consider an amoeba infection if a patient gets a sore or rash on the nose after rinsing their sinuses.

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The amoebas can be found in fresh-water sources around Puget Sound but aren't present in city-treated water, Liz Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Public Health division of the state's Department of Health, told the paper.

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