Following the second fatality in Louisiana caused by brain-eating amoebas, health authorities are urging users of neti pots to only use sterile water when irrigating their sinuses. Both of the consumers who died from the amoeba infestation had used their respective neti pots with tap water, raising the question of whether a neti pot is an unsafe product.
Sources have reported that the organism that destroyed the brain tissue of the two Louisiana victims, eventually causing their death, is found predominantly in the tap water of southern states. According to The Huffington Post, death by the amoeba, known as Naegleria fowleri, is relatively rare and there have been 32 infections reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in the past 10 years. While there have been relatively few deaths, it is clear that neti pot manufacturers should have warnings against using tap water to flush out sinuses.
Despite the rarity of these cases, though, other sources reports that a 51-year-old woman from DeSoto Parish was the second neti pot amoeba infection fatality in the state. This amoeba infection also caused the death of a 20-year-old man living in St. Bernard Parish in June.
The amoeba is only dangerous if it enters the body through the nasal cavity.
In addition to the brain-eating amoeba, a neti pot user who is unaware that tap water can be dangerous may find him- or herself sick with e-coli or another harmful bacteria infection. It is unknown if the manufacturers of the neti pots that the 51- and 20-year-olds used warned them against using tap water in the nasal irrigation system.