Home » Brain-eating amoeba, alarm in the US over nasal washes. Bassetti: «Avoid tap water»

Brain-eating amoeba, alarm in the US over nasal washes. Bassetti: «Avoid tap water»

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Brain-eating amoeba, alarm in the US over nasal washes.  Bassetti: «Avoid tap water»

Ten cases in the United States of brain eating amoeba after incorrect nasal washing. They communicated it Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Cdc) Americans describing “10 cases of patients with non-keratitis Acanthamoeba infection who reported having performed nasal rinsing before becoming ill”.


Brain-eating amoeba: what we know

There are 7 men and 3 women, all immunocompromised. “Most had been rinsing for months or even years and at least half used tap water,” underlines the health authority.

Which warns: “Educating against the use of unboiled tap water for nasal washing may be effective in preventing invasive Acanthamoeba infections, particularly among the immunosuppressed.” The infections occurred from 1994 to 2022, but 9 are concentrated in the last decade, the report said. Of the 10 patients, on average aged 60 (from 32 to 80 years), 5 suffered from cancer and 2 were suffering from AIDS. Seven survived: “An unexpectedly high figure – the CDC points out – considering the mortality rate of the Acanthamoeba infection”.


The infection produced a set of conditions that went from rhinosinusitis to skin disease, from granulomatous amebic encephalitis to osteomyelitis. While specifying that the cause-effect relationship is not certain, i.e. “it has not been established with certainty that nasal washing is the route of transmission in each case” analysed, the CDC reiterates that above all “immunocompromised people should be educated on nasal rinsing safe to prevent amoeba infections.”

What is brain-eating amoeba

The brain-eating amoeba is a name used to identify several species of amoebae, “free-living” unicellular microorganisms (protists), that is, which can survive in the environment without any type of host but which, occasionally, can live as parasites in vertebrates, mainly mammals, including humans, causing serious and often fatal diseases. The brain-eating amoeba can enter the body through the nose, eyes or open wounds and can reach the brain, causing extremely serious and very high percentage fatal diseases.

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Bassetti: «Do not use tap water for nasal washes»

«Ameba is a serious infection that can affect the brain. According to a CDC report there is a link with the use of non-sterile water for nasal washes. You should avoid using tap water for nasal washes.” Recommends it on X Matteo Bassettidirector of Infectious Diseases at the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa, commenting on the report from the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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