The woman used a nasal pot to rinse her sinuses, according to the case report describing the very unusual infection.
But instead of adding saline or sterile water, she opted for unfiltered tap water. About a month later, she got on the right side of her nose a quarter size red rash and at the nasal opening a raw, red skin.
Despite several visits to the doctor, the rash did not disappear. A year later, the woman had a seizure with a CT that revealed a 1.5 cm lesion in her brain.
Physicians at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle thought it was a tumor, but when they tried to remove the mass, they could not. I do not know exactly what it was. A sample was sent to neurologists by John Hopkins for analysis.
The woman was sent home after surgery and returned for a second after doctors in Seattle discovered that the infection was "amoebic," which is a parasitic infection. But it was too late – the woman's condition had already worsened and the infection was too severe.
It was not until the woman's death that additional results came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which revealed that she had a "brain-eating" amoeba called Balamuthia mandrillaris.
The doctors say it was probably due to the unsterile water from the neti pot, which led to infections and the death of the woman.
It is possible that many other cases of infection have been overlooked because the infection with Balamuthia mandrillaris is difficult to diagnose, the authors wrote. Doctors warn that people who get a nasal rash after using non-sterile water have an increased risk of amoebic skin infections.
Worldwide, there were approximately 200 cases of this infection, of which at least 70 were reported in America.