Brain-eating amoeba resurfaces in the water supply of a parish outside New Orleans

People in Louisiana are facing this trouble for the second time in two years; a potentially deadly amoeba has been spotted in the water supply of a parish outside the city of New Orleans.

According to information provided by the state officials, water collected from St. Bernard Parish has tested positive for a lethal amoeba species known as Naegleria fowleri. For those who don’t know: St. Bernard Parish is located around 5 miles outside of the city’s downtown.

Detection of Naegleria fowleri in the region’s water supply has forced the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to order a sixty-day chlorine burn. The treatment will successfully eliminate the pathogen from infected water. Reports suggest that the treatment will commence from Thursday.

It’s not yet known how prevalent Naegleria fowleri was in the area’s water system. This is because only a couple of samples have tested positive for the pathogen. The first sample consists of untreated water and the second one was collected from a station where chances of contamination by ground water are pretty high. The treated water, according to test reports, had chlorine in recommended amount.

St. Bernard Parish Water & Sewer Division’s quality control chief Jacob Groby informed that experts flushed the contaminated water out and then retested it for finding out whether Naegleria fowleri was present in any other part of the water system.

Here, it must be mentioned that the water system of St. Bernard Paris is 225 miles long and serves as many as 44,000 people. The number of people served by this water system was even higher before residents got drove out from the area by Hurricane Katrina, a storm hitting the place in 2005. A decade back, the water system used to serve around 68,000 people.

Groby said that dramatic decrease in the region’s population and growing popularity of eco-friendly devices resulted in reduction in the number of water treatments conducted for a single water system. He added that this change is allowing water to stand in pipes for a longer period of time, which possibly results in loss of a certain level of chlorination.

Water contaminated by Naegleria fowleri can cause severe harm to humans. If this deadly amoeba manages to enter our body through the nose, it would take a little time to reach the brain. However, the amoeba causes no harm to humans when they drink it or when it comes in contact with their skin.



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