News Feature | September 3, 2014

Return Of The Brain-Eating Amoeba

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


The brain-eating amoeba is back. 

"According to St. John the Baptist Parish [in Louisiana] representative Paige Falgoust, the amoeba was detected in Water District 1. The water system serves 12,577 people in the towns of Reserve, Garyville and Mt. Airy," WDSU News reported

The parish said in a news release the amoeba was detected by a new surveillance program put in place after the state previously faced challenges with the amoeba. 

"During the ameba testing, [health officials] discovered the system was not in compliance with the State's emergency rule, which requires water systems to maintain a minimum disinfectant residual level of 0.5 milligrams per liter throughout all of their distribution lines. This 0.5 mg/L level is known to control the Naegleria fowleri ameba," the release said, per WDSU. 

The emergency rule, released in November, "required that water systems in the state maintain a higher residual disinfectant level and increase their number of sampling sites by 25 percent. Most drinking water systems in Louisiana were required to meet this new higher standard by February 1, 2014," according to the state's Department of Health and Hospitals.

The amoeba has struck three times in the last two years in Louisiana. One person passed away in DeSoto Parish and two passed in St. Bernard Parish. The amoeba can be deadly if it travels by way of contaminated water through the nose and into the brain. 

"The microscopic pathogen can cause a deadly form of meningitis that or a swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues. The amoeba cannot be contracted from drinking contaminated water," ABC News reported.

In this instance, no one appears to have suffered adverse health impacts. 

"While no known cases of illness have been reported, families are being urged to take precautions to avoid getting water into the nasal passages to prevent the amoeba from entering the brain," Fox News reported

Check out Water Online's Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solution Center.

Image credit: "science," Robert Couse-Baker © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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