Balamuthia mandrillarisis a free-living ameba that can cause a serious encephalitis infection of the brain. It is thought to enter the body when soil containing Balamuthia comes in contact with skin wounds and cuts, or when dust containing Balamuthia is breathed in or gets in the mouth.

Cyst of Balamuthia mandrillaris Image/CDC
Cyst of Balamuthia mandrillaris

More than 200 cases of Balamuthia infection have been diagnosed worldwide and according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, there has been 109 case reports of Balamuthia disease between 1974 and 2016 in the US.

A unique Balamuthia case reported in a manuscript to be published in the journal, International Journal of Infectious Diseases documents a case of the parasitic infection linked to nasal irrigation.

Joining me of the show is senior author of the report, Charles Cobbs, MD. Dr Cobbs is the director of the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle.