Doctors noticed that a 69-year-old woman from the US was infected with amoebic brain only after her health continued to deteriorate despite the removal of the tumor.
According to the International Journal of Infectious Diseases , the story began when a woman from Seattle visited doctors with an unpleasant chronic sinus infection. She was advised to rinse the nasal cavity with physiological saline, but instead she used ordinary tap water, which she passed through a regular filter from the store, Livescience writes .
A year later, the woman had unusual symptoms: a strange red rash around the nose, dizziness and bouts of pain. After another attack and loss of orientation, the doctors decided to conduct a study of her brain.
Computed tomography showed that she had a 1.5-centimeter tumor in the back of the skull. It was a fairly common form of a brain tumor, so they urgently decided to operate on the patient.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]When I operated on this lady, I saw that part of her brain had turned into a bloody mess.[/perfectpullquote]
During the operation, the removed tumor looked just like dead brain cells, and the woman was sent home. But later she became worse, and then it turned out that her brain was infected with amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris, due to the reproduction of which the tumor grew in size.
These single-celled organisms are found in soil and water bodies around the world, they were first discovered in 1986, and officially registered amoeba species in 1993. It seems that this woman became infected with amoeba by washing her sinuses with tap water.
In healthy people with a good immune system, Balamuthia mandrillari is extremely rare. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 200 cases of infection have been reported worldwide, 70 of them in the USA.
Although Balamuthia mandrillari is extremely rare, almost 90% of infections are fatal. A Seattle patient died shortly after surgery.