The 82-year-old victim was fond of gardening and was exposed to a type of amoeba commonly found in soil, dust, and bodies of water.
A passionate about gardening died in Georgia (USA) after contracting an infection from a flowerpot that ended up turning his brain into a viscous liquid, according to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 82-year-old victim was exposed to contaminated soil, likely by filling a pot for her plants. Over the next two weeks, the man grew weak and ill, until he had to be admitted to hospital.
The infection was caused by a type of amoeba commonly found in soil, dust, and bodies of water. The report by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta indicates that one day after being admitted, the right side of her body was completely weakened, in addition to developing an “altered mental state” and various cognitive problems.
Despite being administered drugs against bacterial meningitis by specialists, nine days later the man died. The patient also had a history of lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.
An autopsy performed on the elderly man revealed liquefaction necrosis of the brain and a diagnosis of granulomatous amoebic encephalitis was made. This condition is characterized by the partial or complete dissolution of the dead tissue, in this case, the brain, and the transformation into a liquid and viscous mass, reports The Science Times.
“This type of amoeba can mainly cause neurological symptoms, that is what our patient had, where he was more confused over time, he suffered from severe headaches. As time passed, he developed seizures and then had a neurological abnormality” explained Ishan Mehta, the study author.
Specialists warn that this microorganism can enter the body when inhaled or through direct contact with the skin and access the bloodstream. And although some people can have this amoeba in their bodies without developing symptoms, it can represent a risk “for patients who have a very compromised immune system.”