A woman who was told by her doctor to rinse her sinuses twice daily to clear up a chronic sinus infection died from a brain-eating amoeba.
The woman, 69 from Seattle, was using tap water filtered using a Brita Water Purifier in a neti pot, according to a report published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Infectious Diseases. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that only distilled or sterile water be used for sinus irrigation.
After a month of clearing her sinuses with the non-sterile water, a quarter-sized red rash appeared on the right side of her nose. Her doctor told her it was rosacea and prescribed an ointment, according to the report. The rash didn’t clear and she saw a dermatologist several times seeking answers, but biopsies didn’t result in any definitive diagnosis.
A year after the rash developed, the woman had a seizure. At that time, a CT scan showed a half-inch lesion on her brain. Doctors performed surgery to remove the mass, which they say had “unusual characteristics.” A specimen was sent to Johns Hopkins University for analysis.
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