Brain Eating Amoeba Contaminate New Orleans Water Supply: How Will Authorities Treat Water System? [REPORT]

By Danny Choy on September 16, 2013 5:15 PM EDT

brain eating amoeba
Brain-eating amoebas have been detected in the water supply of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria Fowleri, which claimed the life of 12-year-old Zachary Reyna last month, is now discovered in the water supply of suburban New Orleans. The parasite was found last week in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

According to officials, water testing for the brain-eating amoeba was conducted after the death of a child caused by encephalitis was reported. While officials insist the water is safe for drinking, they are carefully monitoring the water supply and upgrading the purifying process just to be safe.

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In order to assure residents that the water is safe, St. Bernard President Dave Peralta took a gulp of tap water during a televised interview. That said, Peralta advised residents to take special precaution. "I would not allow unsupervised use of sprinklers or hoses or slip and slides by children," said Peralta.

The brain eating amoeba was found at a total of four different locations within the municipal water supply. "Two sites from fire hydrants came up with the presence and two sites at water bibs, which is the water facets at people houses," Peralta explained. "Not all of the sites that the CDC tested came back positive."

According to authorities, the only way a victim will contract the brain-eating amoeba is if the parasite goes up your noise. While the occurance is uncommon day-to-day, residents are advised to stay away from swimming pools and to avoid putting their heads underwater when taking a both. "If there is even the slightest risk, I have to treat it and I have to treat the entire system," said Peralta.

How exactly can St. Bernard remove the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria Fowleri, from its water supply? According to officials, the water supply is being flushed with increased levels of chlorine, a highly efficient disinfectant. Water chlorination kills disease-causing pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and protozoans responsible for diseases including choleratyphoid fever, and dysentery.

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