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'

They got worse and worse over a year, until she had a seizure - and doctors discovered the amoebas chewing away at her brain.

An amoeba is a single-cell organism that can cause fatal disease in humans, and they live in warm soil and water. "I think she was using (tap) water that had been through a water filter and had been doing that for about a year previously". According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a species of amoeba called Naegleria fowleri, one of the best-documented causes of such infections, is frequently present in fresh water, though infections are rare.

"When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball was bloody mush", Dr. Charles Cobbs, neurosurgeon at Swedish told The Seattle Times.

She used the device over the span of a year.

Unlike N. fowleri, B. mandrillaris is much more hard to detect, according to the report.

"If you do use a neti pot. you should be very aware that it has to be absolute sterile water or sterile saline", Cobbs said, according to Q13 News. Alarmingly, the fatality rate is practically 100 per cent.

The researchers weren't able to test the woman's tap water, but people can not be infected by simply swallowing water contaminated with the amoebas, according to Cobbs. That aligns with what the victim experienced, as her first likely symptom was a red sore on her nose that doctors kept misdiagnosing as the common skin condition rosacea. Although the risk of infection to the brain is extremely low, people who use neti pots or other nasal-irrigation devices can almost eliminate it by following directions printed on the devices, including using only saline or sterilized water, Maree said.

"Despite aggressive anti-amoebic therapy, the patient's condition continued to deteriorate", noted the authors of the report. "Within 1 week she was more somnolent and then became comatose...." "Repeat CT imaging demonstrated further hemorrhage into the original resection cavity". Within a week, she was in a coma, and her family chose to take her off life support.

The patient died about a month after finally receiving the correct diagnosis. As the researchers noted in the case study, there's still much to learn about the mode of and reasons for these infections, such as the influence of compromised immune systems, environmental factors, and genetics. It's extremely important to use sterile saline or sterile water.

Balamuthia mandrillaris: As Gizmodo reported, there have only ever been 200 reported cases of B. mandrillaris globally. We believe that the neti pot she was using probably had gotten contaminated.

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