Health Alert to Swimmers and Nasal Rinse Users, Deadly Amoeba That Eats Brain CellsUma (Author) Published Date : Dec 08, 2018 09:44 IST
The 69-year-old Seattle lady died because of the infection caused by using the tap water in the neti pot to clean the nasal and sinus passages. Dr. Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at Seattle's Swedish Medical Center states that he was shocked to see the amoeba eating her brain cells killing her when he operated a section of her brain for a brain tumor. He sent the sample of her damaged tissues for testing and confirmed to be amoeba eating the brain cells. The patient had a rare brain infection called Balamuthia mandrillaris. The doctor suspects the infection entered through the nose, then the bloodstream and finally to the brain, where it eats the neurons (brain cells). In spite of removing the infected tissues, the patient died.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Naegleria fowleri, a species of amoeba present in fresh water, cause deadly infection but the infections of this type are rare. There have been 34 reported infections in the US in the last decade. But there were more than 34,000 deaths in the U.S. in the previous decade, from 2001-2010. There is confirmed death when they are infected with this type.
According to CDC, it can't spread in chlorinated pool or humidifier. The people using neti pots for nasal rinse or mouthwash should use only saline or boiled water. This amoeba is more common in the Southern States where the water is warm.
Dr. Cobbs wrote about the deadly infection in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. According to the report, the rare amoeba was found in 1986 from an autopsy of a monkey's brain at San Diego Zoo. There had been about 200 human infections spread over the world so far, 70% in the U.S alone.
The doctor advises to use a sterile container free of micro-organism and not to use tap water, which can contain amoeba, but instead use purified water for any kind of nasal wash or mouth gargles.
Health Alert to Swimmers and Nasal Rinse Users, Deadly Amoeba That Eats Brain Cells