Update: Is the brain-eating amoeba linked to Hurricane Katrina?

Sept. 23, 2013


ST. BERNARD, La. — A rare Naegleria fowleri amoeba, which was in the water supply of a Louisiana parish, might have been caused by Hurricane Katrina.

ST. BERNARD, La. — As reported last week by WaterTechOnline, a rare Naegleria fowleri amoeba, which was confirmed to be in the water supply of a Louisiana parish and is being blamed for the death of a 4-year-old boy, might have been caused by Hurricane Katrina, according to a National Geographic report.

According to the Sept. 20 article, St. Bernard Parish was under 15 feet of floodwater back in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated areas of Louisiana. Water pipes were broke and the water pressure was zero, Jake Causey, chief engineer for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, said in the story. The water "sat" around the parish and in the sun for years.

Raoult Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist, said in the story that studies have shown that the summer heat could have destroyed the residual chlorine that was added to municipal water and without the chlorine, the amoeba would multiply. 

However, some are disagreeing with the Hurricane Katrina theory.

"My understanding is that this amoeba is pretty common in freshwater throughout the United States. As a scientist, I wouldn't necessarily support Katrina as a causation there," Dawn Wesson, an epidemiologist at Tulane University in New Orleans, said in the story. 

Ratard said his theory is just that and an exact answer may not be possible.

To read the entire story, click here.