Like in 2014, Louisiana’s Department of Health confirmed this week that brain-eating amoeba had been found in two water systems in the state.
Traces of Naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism that can cause a rare, but fatal, brain disease, was found during routine water testing of Ouachita Parish’s North Monroe Water System and Terrebonne Parish’s Schriever Water System. Health officials assured residents that the tap water in these parishes are still safe to drink, but warned people to avoid getting any of it in their noses.
Naegleria fowleri infections occur when contaminated water enters the nose and the amoeba travels to the brain where it destroys brain tissue, creating a disease known as Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early symptoms of PAM can be similar to those of bacterial meningitis, including headache, fever and nausea. As the disease progresses, stiff neck, seizures and hallucinations can occur. In most cases, death soon follows.
The fatality rate of the infection is over 97 percent in the United States, though it’s a rare affliction with only 40 cases reported in the country between 2007 and 2016.
Drinking contaminated tap water cannot lead to infection, stressed the CDC ― but using it for nasal irrigation or accidentally getting it into your nose can. Of the 40 people in the U.S. infected since 2007, four cases were caused by contaminated tap water. Nasal irrigation was the culprit for three infections; the fourth involved a person using a backyard slip-n-slide. According to the CDC, the majority of infections in the U.S. have involved people swimming or diving in warm freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers.
Louisiana health officials said on Thursday that they’ve told the two water systems to use the “free chlorine method” for 60 days to kill any remaining amoeba. Moreover, they advised residents to continue following all precautions until testing no longer confirms the presence of the amoeba in the water system.
Residents are scared about the water infected by this brain-eating amoeba. So don’t take a bath or shower and get water in your nose unless you wanna get your brain eaten.Click here for reuse options!