The Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal says 90% of patients that contracted Balamuthia have died.
But even though the woman used tap water, the odds were in her favor that she would have been fine. After experiencing an intense seizure and an apparent loss of brain cognition, doctors started to investigate the possibility of the problem being in her brain. A CT scan had revealed a 1.5-centimeter lesion and the 69-year-old had a history of cancer.
"When I operated on this lady, a section of her brain about the size of a golf ball", Charles Cobbs, a neurosurgeon at the Swedish Medical Center, told The Seattle Times.
"We didn't have any clue what was going on", he added.
These single-celled organisms can be naturally found in the soil and freshwater across the world.
If you're using a neti pot to pour water through your nasal passages and clean out your sinus cavities, you should only use sterile or saline water, doctors have warned after a Seattle woman died from a brain infection.
It is possible for infections to spread from the nasal area to the brain due to the blood supply of the human nose and surrounding area.
"This is extremely rare".
But fear not, you shouldn't be terrified of your tap water.
They think that she did so with tap water for a year, and that this may have led to the amoeba infecting her brain.
"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). Although extremely rare, B. mandrillari is deadly, with nearly 90 percent of cases of infection resulting in death.
The contaminated water went up the woman's nose "toward [the] olfactory nerves in the upper part of her nasal cavity", The Seattle Times reported, which ultimately caused the infection which first appeared as a red sore on her nose.