Woman dies from rare brain-eating disease after using neti pot

An MRI of the Seattle woman’s brain in February 2018 shows severe hemorrhaging. “It’s such an incredibly uncommon disease it was not on anyone’s radar that this initial nose sore would be related to her brain,” said Keenan Piper a researcher fro

A CT scan had revealed a 1.5-centimeter lesion and the 69-year-old had a history of cancer.

"We believe that she was using a device to irrigate her sinuses that some people use called a neti pot".

The 69 year-old, who has not been named, was taken to the Swedish Medical Center near her home in Seattle after suffering a seizure this year. "It was just dead brain tissue", he tells Live Science.

The case is the second-ever reported in Seattle - the first was in 2013.

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".

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. That tap water was filled with tiny amoebas that ate away at her brain cells.

"She had not been boiling water, using sterile water or using sterile saline".

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.

"Then, about one year after the initial development of the nasal rash, the patient was seen at an outside hospital due to a left upper extremity focal seizure".

When Dr Cobbs next operated on the woman, the growth had grown to the size of a baseball, and that too much of her brain tissue had been killed for medics to save her. Her doctor told her it was rosacea and prescribed an ointment, according to the report.

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

"There have been 34 reported infections in the U.S.in the 10 years from 2008 to 2017, despite millions of recreational water exposures each year", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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

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