The woman, a Swedish Medical Center patient, likely contracted the brain-eating amoeba from the water in her nasal rinse, Swedish doctors said.
Despite the surgeons' best efforts, the woman died a month later.
"It's such an incredibly uncommon disease it was not on anyone's radar that this initial nose sore would be related to her brain", Piper said.
According to the CDC, most cases of Balamuthia mandrillaris aren't diagnosed until immediately before death or after death, so doctors don't have a lot of experience treating the amoeba and know little about how a person becomes infected.
Health officials suggest using only distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to rinse sinuses. So, he just took a sample and sent it to neuropathologists at Johns Hopkins University for further analysis.
However, an examination of tissue taken from her brain during surgery showed that her problem wasn't a tumor at all.
The woman's condition quickly deteriorated.
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Cobbs said it's theoretically possible for other people to be infected with the same deadly amoeba, but that it's a very, very rare occurrence. "I was pretty much shocked because I'd never seen that before", Cobbs told KIRO-TV.
Most cases of brain eating amoebas have been found in places like California, Arizona and Texas but Dr. Cobbs did say that over time, because of climate change, the amoeba could learn to survive in cooler areas like here in Washington State.
"There have been 34 reported infections in the U.S.in the 10 years from 2008 to 2017, despite millions of recreational water exposures each year", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In healthy people with good immune systems, an infection is extremely rare. That said, the woman's case was rare; there were only three similar cases in the USA from 2008 to 2017, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The unnamed woman died a month after the surgery from the infection called granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE), according to a case study published this month in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
However, using tap water with a neti pot isn't safe, according to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
In this case, doctors pointed to the neti pot the woman had been using to clear up her sinuses.
Unlike N. fowleri, B. mandrillaris is much more hard to detect, according to the report.
Dr Cobbs continued: 'It's extremely important to use sterile saline or sterile water.