Deadly Brain-Infecting Amoeba Discovered in Two Water Systems in Louisiana

Deadly Brain-Infecting Amoeba Discovered in Two Water Systems in Louisiana

On June 29th, the Louisiana Department of Health discovered the presence of a freshwater amoeba in two of the water systems in the state. This incident was not the product of a contamination, since the amoeba occurs only naturally, so residents need to know what measures they should take to avoid getting infected.

The amoeba occurs naturally

During a routine check-up for drinking water, the authorities at LDH discovered two water systems in the state which tested positive for Naegleria fowleri. The systems in question are Ouachita Parish’s North Monroe and Terrebonne Parish’s Schriever. Both the officials and the systems were announced of the discovery.

The system started the chlorine disinfection program which, in 60 days, should destroy the amoeba completely. All residents are advised to be careful. The water is still good for drinking, but they should make sure it doesn’t get into their noses.

It causes a deadly brain infection

The nose is the shortest way the amoeba can take to the brain. If it reaches the brain, the person is in danger of developing PAM (primary amebic meningoencephalitis). This is a serious brain infection, which can cause real damage to its tissue.

In fact, most cases of such an amoeba infection are deadly. Many people contracted Naegleria fowleri while swimming, but it also happened that they took the bacteria from tap water. The mortality rate of this condition is 97 percent, and only four people with the infection survived between 1962 and 2016.

Naegleria fowleri cannot be contracted while drinking, and is not transmitted from a person to another. The only way it can reach the brain is through the nose. Therefore, people should be extremely careful even when they wash their face with infected water. Also, parents should always supervise their children while bathing, and not allow them to play with water.
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