A woman has died after contracting a rare and vicious brain-eating amoeba from using tap water in a Neti Pot, which eventually turned her brain ‘into mush’.
Doctors prescribed the Seattle-based woman, 69, the device to help flush her nasal cavity after she’d been suffering from a sinus infection.
But using Brita-filtered water instead of a sterile batch, the woman developed an odd rash on the bridge of her nose.
Over the next year, the amoeba began eating away at the woman’s brain tissue.
Oblivious to the fact she was playing host to the deadly organism, a series of strange symptoms eventually led the woman consulting doctors.
By the time she was referred to a hospital, the woman’s left arm was convulsing, she was unable to think properly and the a large section of her brain had been devoured into a state of amoebic ‘mush’, Dr Charles Cobbs told the Seattle Times.
Brain-eating amoebas usually lurk in water and soil, but are considered extremely rare.
Only a few forms can have an effect on humans, the most notorious of which is called Naegleria.
This specific type of amoeba has infected 34 people in the US over the last 10 years.
However, this woman tested negative for Naeglari and was actually found to have Balamuthia – which was only discovered in 1986.
Since it’s finding, 200 people have been afflicted by cases of Balamuthia, and is almost always fatal prognosis.
Roughly 89% of of Balamuthia cases end in death because symptoms often take months to develop – and by that point its usually too late.
The unidentified woman – whose case was reported in an International Journal of Infectious Diseases – could have easily avoided contact with the cell, had she not made the fatal mistake of ignoring her doctor’s instructions.
Using sterile water – either bottled or boiled – would have allowed her to avoid any potential lurking impurities.
By the time doctors were able to locate the source of her worsening symptoms, unfortunately it was too late.
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