Brain-eating amoeba found in three public water supplies

Aug. 21, 2015

HOUMA, La. — Officials say the water is safe to drink because the amoeba cannot survive people’s stomach acid.

HOUMA, La. — Officials say tests showed Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, is present in three drinking water supplies in Louisiana, according to a press release.

The latest test came from a utility district about 80 miles from New Orleans in Terrebonne Parish, noted the article. The water system serves roughly 97,000 residents.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced that two other systems tested did not contain the amoeba, stated the article. It was originally founds in late July in Ascension Parish, about 25 miles from Baton Rouge. It was also detected in St. Bernard Parish about 15 miles from New Orleans on July 22.

The amoeba does damage when it enters the body through the nose, then travels to the brain and destroys tissue, reported the article. Officials say the water is safe to drink because the amoeba cannot survive people’s stomach acid.

Authorities will eliminate the contaminant with a 60-day free chlorine burn, shared the article. The process will help reduce biofilm throughout the water system.

“As Naegleria fowleri infections are extremely rare, testing for this amoeba in public drinking water is still relatively new and evolving,” the Montegut Fire Department said in the article.

Higher temperatures may have contributed to the amoeba’s presence in the water system, noted the article. It is commonly found in warm freshwater.

You can find the entire article here.

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