A brain-eating amoeba was identified in the drinking water of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. It is the second time in two years when Naegleria fowleri amoeba was found in the same parish. In 2013 a 4-year-old boy died because of the killer amoeba.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals two of the seven water sites in the parish were reported to have the brain-eating amoeba. Officials say that the water is safe to drink, but residents should be careful not to get water in their noses when they swim or bathe. That’s how the pathogen reaches the brain.
On Thursday the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals also ordered that a chlorine burn will start in order to make sure that the brain-eating amoeba will be eliminated from the water supply. The operation will last for 60 days.
The brain-eating amoeba is lethal in 97 percent of the cases and it kills its victims in only one week. Luckily the pathogen cannot be transmitted from one person to another, it can only be contracted. The usual symptoms include vomiting, headache, nausea and fever. The person affected cannot focus and pay attention to other people and the surroundings, experiences seizures, stiff neck, hallucinations and loss of balance.
Infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner from the Vanderbilt University Medical School said that people should take measures in order to protect themselves such as keeping their pools chlorinated and not allow children to play with hoses. He also warned people that they must pay attention not to get water in their nose. Drinking water is not a problem, Dr. Schaffner added.
The brain-eating amoeba was identified at a water treatment facility with untreated water and a facility at 948 Angela Street. It is speculated that the pathogen may have infiltrated the second facility from the ground water that could have leaked in after the place was hit by car. The water had the right amount of chlorine. It is not yet clear how prevalent the brain-eating amoeba is.
Earlier this month a 14-year-old boy was killed by the same type of amoeba. The person identified as Hunter Boutain from Alexandria died on July 9 after he got infected while swimming in a lake from Minnesota.
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