Home » Brain-eating amoeba after nasal washes: the report and the warning

Brain-eating amoeba after nasal washes: the report and the warning

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Brain-eating amoeba after nasal washes: the report and the warning

The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported a concerning trend of brain-eating amoeba infections after nasal rinses using tap water. Between 1994 and 2022, there have been at least ten cases, with nine of them occurring in the last decade. The majority of patients affected were immunocompromised, including cancer and AIDS patients.

The CDC report highlights that most of the patients had been performing nasal rinses for months or years, with at least half of them using tap water. Despite the severity of the infection, seven out of the ten patients survived, which the CDC considers unexpectedly high.

While the exact cause-effect relationship is still uncertain, health authorities recommend against using unboiled tap water for nasal lavage, especially for those who are immunosuppressed. The infection can lead to various complications, from rhinosinusitis to granulomatous amebic encephalitis and osteomyelitis.

In response to the report, Matteo Bassetti, director of Infectious Diseases at the Policlinico San Martino in Genoa, emphasized the importance of avoiding tap water for nasal washes. Bassetti urged the use of special products designed for nasal rinses, which are considered much safer than tap water.

It is crucial to prioritize safety measures when it comes to nasal hygiene, especially for vulnerable populations. Education and awareness are key in preventing invasive Acanthamoeba infections related to nasal washes.

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