Woman dies after supposedly harmless nasal douche

Woman dies after supposedly harmless nasal douche

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Nasal douche with tap water: woman dies from brain-eating amoeba

Nasal douches are actually helpful if you want to treat sinus infection. But they are used incorrectly for health risks. Like an older American woman who probably contracted brain-eating amoebas as a result of this treatment, which led to the death of the woman.

Improper use of a nasal douche

In the United States, a woman died a year after misusing a nasal douche. According to media reports, the 69-year-old from Seattle (Washington State) used tap water instead of recommended sterile water or a saline solution. This apparently allowed brain-eating amoebas to enter her body, which eventually led to the death of the woman. The journal “Infectious Diseases” is currently reporting on the case that happened a little earlier.

Amoeba deaths

In recent years - especially from the USA - there have been reports of cases in which people were killed by amoebas.

For example, a woman in California died after bathing in the swimming pool because she caught the parasite Naegleria fowleri.

This type of amoeba was also responsible for the death of an 18-year-old girl from North Carolina. The teenage girl had become infected while swimming in the lake.

The Washington state case now described is the first to be associated with improper nasal irrigation, according to a Seattle Times report.

It started with a wound on the nose

The amoeba found in the Seattle woman was Balamuthia mandrillaris, which can cause a very rare and almost always fatal brain infection over weeks or months, reports CNN.

In the 69-year-old, the infection started with a raised, red wound on the bridge of her nose.

The doctors thought it was a rash and prescribed an antibiotic ointment, but it was no relief. Over the course of a year, dermatologists have looked for a cause.

Then the left side of the woman's body began to tremble. She had a fit that had weakened her left arm.

She was then taken to the Swedish Medical Center emergency room in Seattle, where a CT scan showed an abnormal lesion in her brain, indicating a tumor, so the doctors sent a tissue sample for testing.

Over the next few days, more scans showed that everything that was going on in her brain was getting worse. The mass grew and new lesions appeared.

Operation brought clarity

Eventually, the doctors at the hospital decided to have brain surgery. It showed that something much more dangerous than a tumor was going on.

"When I operated on this woman, a section of her golf ball-sized brain was bloody porridge," said Dr. Charles Cobbs, neurosurgeon at the Swedish Medical Center, in a telephone interview with the "Seattle Times".

“There were amoebas everywhere that were eating brain cells. We had no idea what was going on, but when we had the actual tissue, we could see that it was the amoeba. ”

According to the information, the patient died a month later from the rare organisms that had entered her brain.

Water supply has not been tested

The doctors assume that the amoeba could get into her body through the nasal douche that the woman used last year because of a sinus infection.

According to the information, the 69-year-old used tap water for this and not sterile water or a saline solution as recommended.

However, the doctors also stated that they could not definitely associate the infection with nasal irrigation because their home's water supply was not tested for the amoeba.

According to Dr. Cobbs cannot become infected by simply swallowing water contaminated with amoebas. According to experts, this is very possible via the nose.

Dangerous organisms could spread further north

The woman's infection is the second in Seattle, the first reported in 2013.

After a study published in November in the journal "Clinical Infectious Diseases", the researchers realized for the first time that this type of amoeba can cause diseases in humans.

This report found that a total of 109 cases of amoeba were reported in the U.S. between 1974 and 2016. Ninety percent of these cases were fatal.

Amoebas are unicellular organisms, some of which can cause disease. As they thrive in warm soils and water, there is growing concern that fatal infections due to global warming could spread further north.

The organisms are often found in South America and Central America, but are now more likely to survive in other, usually cooler areas, such as Washington.

This concern is shared by Dr. Cynthia Maree, an infectious disease doctor from the Swedish Medical Center, who co-authored the patient's case study.

"Given the mortality associated with this infection, I hoped I was wrong. But my fear was that I was right. "

Dr. Cobbs, however, “doesn't think there will be more cases in the future. At least I hope so. ”(Ad)

Author and source information

Video: How to Use a Neti Pot (July 2022).


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