A 68-year-old Seattle woman who died after contracting a rare brain-eating amoeba used regular tap water to rinse her sinuses, according to new research. As noted in a new International Journal of Infectious Diseases case study, the infection was initially misdiagnosed as a brain tumor. During surgery to remove the suspected tumor, the lead neurosurgeon, Charles Cobbs from Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, was taken aback by the extent of the brain damage. So he extracted a sample for further testing. “When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush,” Cobbs told the Seattle Times. “There were these amoeba all over the place just eating brain cells. We didn’t have any clue what was going on, but when we got the actual tissue we could see it was the amoeba.” Indeed, the ensuing biopsy report showed that the woman had been infected with a rare brain-eating amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris. These sorts of infections are quite rare, but what’s unique about this incident is that it’s the “first case of Balamuthia mandrillaris brain infection suspected from nasal lavage,” according to the case study, which was authored by Swedish scientists and the doctors who worked on the case, Cobbs included. By nasal lavage the researchers are referring to the use of a neti pot—a teapot-shaped device that relieves sinus pressure by flushing water through the nasal cavity. The researchers said the patient used tap water filtered through a store-bought water… [Read full story]
You are here: / / Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Woman Who Filled Her Neti Pot With Tap Water
Gizmodo is a design, technology, science and science fiction website that also features articles on politics. It was originally launched as part of the Gawker Media network run by Nick Denton, and runs on the Kinja platform.