A Seattle woman was diagnosed with a brain tumor. However, during the surgery, the doctors discovered that, in reality, that formation was not a brain tumor but a rare brain-eating amoeba.
“It’s something I’ve actually never seen before. Pathologists couldn’t really determine what it was because the tissue had been pretty much destroyed,” said Dr. Charles Cobbs from the Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center.
In January, the doctor and his co-workers were operating the patient for a brain tumor. When they opened her up, the medical team was shocked to observe that, instead of a brain tumor, a rare brain-eating amoeba was practically devouring the Seattle woman’s brain.
Dr. Cobbs believes that the woman’s habit of using tap water for her neti pot (a tea-pot-shaped object used to inject water up into the nasal cavity to clear the sinuses), instead of boiled water or saline solution, caused her that problem.
Brain-Eating Amoeba Found In A Seattle Woman
What the patient had was a brain infection caused by Balamuthia mandrillaris, a free-living amoeba that lives in freshwater and soil, but, commonly, doesn’t harm humans, as Dr. Charles Cobb revealed in the recent edition of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
That is a rare condition as only 200 cases caused by that brain-eating amoeba have been recorded around the world. However, 70 of these cases took place in the US. According to the doctor, the fatality rate of this infection is maximum – 100 percent.
“If you directly injected [the brain-eating amoeba] into your nasal passageways, if there’s enough of it, it could, you know, set up an infection. I suspect it was in her nasal passages and skin in the nose, and, after a while, enough of it was around that it got into the bloodstream and probably went to the brain,” explained Dr. Cobb the situation of the Seattle woman.