Medical

Doctors say amoebas in tap water turned woman's brain into 'bloody mush'

Doctors say amoebas in tap water turned woman's brain into 'bloody mush'

The contaminated water went up the woman's nose "toward [the] olfactory nerves in the upper part of her nasal cavity", The Seattle Times reported, which ultimately caused the infection which first appeared as a red sore on her nose.

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. An initial CT scan revealed what doctors believed was a tumor.

The woman's brain infection went undiagnosed for so long because the type of amoeba she had was so uncommon and also moves very slowly, the Times stated.

"However, unfortunately it is possible for these organisms to get into tap water as well at times, and that's why I do always counsel my patients to use distilled water when rinsing". He removed it and sent a sample to a pathologist at Johns Hopkins for a second opinion.

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. But the woman's condition was deteriorating. The amoeba was discovered by CDC scientists in the brain of a dead mandrill baboon in 1986, and it was declared a new species of amoeba in 1993.

As reported in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the story began when a Seattle-based woman visited the doctors with a nasty chronic sinus infection. "We didn't have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba". "There were these amoeba all over the place just eating brain cells".




According to the CDC, most brain infections from amoebas are associated with swimming in warm freshwater lakes and rivers.

Even though such infections are very rare, there were three similar USA cases from 2008 to 2017.

A person can not get infected from swallowing water contaminated with it, and it can not pass from person to person. "There's been about 200 cases worldwide", Dr. Cobbs said.

In 2011, Louisiana health officials warned residents not to use nonsterilized tap water in neti pots after the deaths of two people who were exposed to Naegleria fowleri while flushing their nasal passages.

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.

The case report notes that GAE is rare and the CDC described it as a "very rare disease that is usually fatal". Researchers believe that she contracted the amoeba while using the neti pot because she used filtered tap water rather than saline or sterile water, the latter of which is recommended.