A rare brain disease previously seen mainly in swimmers is now turning up in some people who do Jalneti.

Jonathan S. Yoder, MSW, MPH, an epidemiologist from the NationalCenterfor Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues studied 2 cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that occurred in patients who irrigated their sinuses with neti pots and contaminated tap water. The authors report their findings in an article published online August 23 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. [Medscape]

PAM is caused by Naegleria fowleri, a free-living ameba that feeds on bacteria and is often found in natural bodies of warm freshwater. It thrives in warm water (up to 45°C) and most often infects swimmers by traveling up the nose, along the olfactory nerve, through the cribriform plate, and to the brain, killing its victim within about 5 days.