Nothing like having a new medical thing to be terrified about by; balamuthia mandrillaris. It’s a brain parasite that causes granulomatous amoebic encephalitis, a deadly neurological infection.
The 69 year old woman, who had a lingering sinus infection, tried to treat it with a Neti pot. She used tap water rather than recommended sterilized water. CNN.com told the whole story.
Once in her body, the amoeba slowly went about its deadly work.
First, she developed a raised, red sore on the bridge of her nose. Doctors thought it was a rash and prescribed an antibiotic ointment, but that provided no relief. Over the course of a year, dermatologists hunted for a diagnosis.
Then, the left side of the woman's body started shaking. She'd experienced a seizure that weakened her left arm. A CT scan showed an abnormal lesion in her brain that indicated she might have a tumor, so doctors sent a sample of tissue for testing.
Over the next several days, additional scans revealed that whatever was happening in her brain was getting worse. The mass was growing, and new lesions were starting to show up.
Finally, a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medical Center, where the woman was being treated, opened her skull to examine her brain and found that it was infected with amoebae.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rushed the anti-amoeba drug miltefosine to Seattle to try to save the woman's life, but she fell into a coma and died.
Water treatment systems are usually filled with safeguarded by enough filters to keep parasites away, but the dangers are still there. All I know is that I’m never going to use a Neti pot or get sinus infection. Also, I’m going to bathe using baby wipes and alcohol until every possible thing on my skin is fried off.