Woman Uses Neti Pot, Ends Up With Brain-Eating Amoeba

Leslie Hanson
December 8, 2018

As such, when the 69-year-old shot the tap water up her nasal cavity, she essentially injected the brain-eating infection known as granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE).

The team at Swedish Medical Center believe the woman was using a device called a neti pot to irrigate her sinuses, which likely introduced the amoeba into her system.

The 69-year-old Seattle woman stumped doctors earlier this year, when she was admitted to hospital after suffering a seizure. "It was just dead brain tissue", he tells Live Science.

Dr Cobbs told the Seattle Times: 'There were these amoebas all over the place just eating brain cells. The woman died a month later, the Seattle Times reports.

"The pathologist was able to look at it under a microscope and see the characteristic, actually the amoeba, in the tissue", said Dr. Charles Cobbs, Swedish Neuroscience Institute.


While this type of brain infection is rare, doctors are urging people to use sterile water any time they use a neti pot.

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.

"It's extremely important to use sterile saline or sterile water", Dr. Cobbs said. Tap water can contain tiny organisms that are safe to drink but could survive in nasal passages.

First it was an angry red rash on her nose that wouldn't go away. But what doctors initially thought was a brain tumor turned out to be rare amoebas that were attacking her brain. Although becoming infected is rare, Dr. Cobbs says people should always follow instructions and take precautions when using medical devices.

'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 only been around 200 reported cases of infection worldwide, although around 70 of those cases were in the US alone, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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