Neti pot Seattle death: Doctors issue warning after brain infection ki

A woman who was told by her doctor to rinse her sinuses twice daily to clear up a chronic sinus infection died from a brain-eating amoeba. After examining a CT scan taken of her brain, physicians thought she had a tumor. But when Cobbs operated, he discovered something much more disturbing.

An amoeba is a single-cell organism that can cause fatal disease in humans, and they live in warm soil and water. "We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba". Now a case study recently published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases has shed light on how the amoeba entered her brain.

Cobbs said he suspects that the woman got infected by using the neti pot with unsterilized water; indeed, rinsing the sinuses with unsterilized water has been linked in the past to another deadly brain-eating amoeba infection called Naegleria fowleri The CDC notes, however, that "little is known at this time about how a person becomes infected" with the amoeba. It's believed that the woman used tap water she'd put in a pitcher with a filter.

The 69-year-old Seattle resident died in February after undergoing brain surgery at Swedish Medical Center.

Amoebas may be found in fresh-water sources around Puget Sound such as wells, but aren't present in city-treated water, according to Liz Coleman, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Public Health division of the state's Department of Health.

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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.

The woman's infection is the second ever reported in Seattle - the first came in 2013 - but the first fatality to be caused by it.

However, using tap water with a neti pot isn't safe, according to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). And it's hard to grow the amoeba in the lab, because it doesn't grow on agar, a commonly used cell-culturing medium used in labs.

However, an examination of tissue taken from her brain during surgery showed that her problem wasn't a tumor at all.

Eventually she reportedly developed a rash on her nose and raw skin near her nostrils, which was misdiagnosed as rosacea, a skin condition. 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. There are molds and fungi that can kill you if it infects your brain.

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