Brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana water systems

LDH Confirms Naegleria Fowleri Ameba in North Monroe, Schriever Water Systems.

Naegleria fowleri in brain tissue. Photo: CDC
Naegleria fowleri in brain tissue. Photo: CDC

LOUISIANA, JULY 6, 2017 -- Brain-eating amoebas have been detected in two water systems in Louisiana, the state's health department said. Residents were told that drinking tap water is still safe but they should take precautions in pools and showers to reduce the risk of infection.

Routine testing showed the presence of Naegleria fowleri, commonly known as the brain-eating amoeba, in Ouachita Parish's North Monroe water system and Terrebonne Parish's Schriever water system.

The health department urged residents to avoid getting water in their noses, which is how the organism can infect the brain. The department also advised the public to run baths, shower taps and hoses for at least five minutes before use to flush the pipes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the amoeba can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a brain infection that is almost always fatal. People are particularly at risk for contracting PAM if the amoebas enter through the nose -- which can happen when people swim or dive in contaminated wate

ABC News reports the health department asked the water systems to switch to the free chlorine disinfection method for 60 days to ensure that any remaining amoebas in the systems are eliminated.

Read more here.

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