The family of Scott Schmitz, who passed away in February this year, has confirmed that he contracted a deadly brain-eating amoeba. According to news reports, the 41-year-old man fell ill after using water from his faucet in a netty pot to flush out his sinuses. The Charlotte County Health Department had confirmed earlier that a death resulted from exposure to the amoeba, but had not provided details at the time.

Experts are at a loss to explain how this incredibly rare case happened – it’s nearly unheard of for a brain-eating amoeba to survive chlorination and make it into a home’s drinking water in order to infect its host. The Florida Department of Health confirmed that Scott’s infection was due to him using a netty pot, and upon further investigation found the amoeba in only one spot – the kitchen sink faucet. Dr. Rosen poses the question on how long a deadly amoeba can live on such a fixture, though there is little research or knowledge in this area as cases like these are extremely rare. As an extra precaution, Charlotte County Utilities have changed their disinfection methods to include chlorine burning which kills brain-eating microbes.