For the second time in less than a year, a brain-eating amoeba has shown up in the water supply of another Louisiana parish. Last September health officials warned of the deadly bacteria in one area’s drinking water, and now systems in another parish have tested positive for the Naegleria fowleri amoeba.
The state’s Department of Health and Hospitals said the amoeba was found in samples taken from St. John the Baptist Parish’s Water District No. 1, which serves 12,577 people, reports the The Times-Picayune.
Thus far no one has reported an illness linked to the amoeba, but officials are nonetheless warning residents with advice on how to prevent getting water up their noses. Your nasal passages are basically a highway straight to your brain.
“Families can take simple steps to protect themselves from exposure to this amoeba, the most important being to avoid allowing water to go up your nose while bathing or swimming in a pool,” a state health officer said. “It is important to remember that the water is safe to drink; the amoeba cannot infect an individual through the stomach.”
The public school system is being extra careful, however, and turning off all water fountains at the schools and taping them up.
The parish now has 60 days to perform a free chlorine burn on the water system to disinfect it.
“The parish Utilities Department is taking immediate actions to fully chlorinate the water system and eliminate the threat,” the parish president said. “As more information becomes available, it will be released to the public.”
Parish water system, state health agency reports [The Times-Picayune]