Louisiana woman dies from rare infection

Published: Dec. 6, 2011 at 8:38 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM CST
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DESOTO PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A DeSoto Parish woman has died after she was infected by a rare amoeba.

The Department of Health and Hospitals says the 51-year-old woman was infected by the deadly amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, after using tap water in a neti pot to irrigate her sinuses.

A neti pot is commonly used to irrigate sinuses and looks like a genie's lamp.

"If you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses, for example, by using a neti pot, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution," said Louisiana State Epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard.  "Tap water is safe for drinking, but not for irrigating your nose."

Naegleria fowleri infection usually happens when people swim or dive in warm freshwater lakes and rivers.  Contaminated water enters the nose when people go beneath the surface of the water or irrigate their sinuses with contaminated water.

You cannot be infected with Naegleria fowleri by drinking water.

In June, a 20-year-old St. Bernard Parish man died after using a neti pot.

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