The Department of Health and Hospitals says brain-eating amoeba has been found in a water system serving about 1,800 people in a community north of Donaldsonville in Louisiana. In 2013, the state also discovered the bacteria in the water supply after a four year-old child died from an infection associated with the amoeba.
The area that tested positive for the amoeba was not in compliance with requirements of chloramine disinfectant levels set forth by Louisiana law.
“It is important the citizens in St. Bernard Parish have an opportunity to get the facts about the discovery of this risky amoeba in their water system”, Morrell said.
The department checks public drinking water systems for the amoeba each summer when temperatures rise. Parish officials confirmed that the burn would be conducted out of an abundance of caution.
Officials have begun a 60 day “chlorine burn” to kill off the deadly pathogen.
Three follow-up samples Wednesday (July 29) read positive for the amoeba, the DHH said.
“Naegleria fowleri causes a disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue”. The early stages of the illness are similar to bacterial meningitis. Do not jump into or put your head under bathing water in bathtubs and small plastic or blow-up pools. Keep your swimming pool adequately disinfected by making sure free chlorine is at 1 to 3 ppm and a pH of 7.2 to 7.8.
Run the water for baths and showers, and hoses, for five minutes before use to flush out the pipes.
If you need to top off the water in your swimming pool with tap water, place the hose directly into the skimmer box and ensure that the filter is running.