A Louisiana parish is on the edge. A deadly brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri has returned to the location for the third time.
An Unwelcomed Return
Terrebonne Parish leaders announced to their residents that they are once again dealing with the brain-eating amoeba, which has made its way to the parish's water supply. Scientists first discovered the parasite when they investigated the water in the nearby community of Pointe-aux-Chenes. The parish's primary water supplier, the Terrebonne Consolidated Waterworks District, announced its return to the community on Sunday, June 10.
The Consolidated Waterworks District is already working on their way to remove the parasite from their water systems. Officials have stated that they switched from the chemical chloramine to free chlorine, which is chlorine that is typically found in swimming pools, in hopes of getting rid of the parasite. The company is expected to test out the water in two weeks to see if the parasite abandoned the water supply.
No Water Activities
Many residents are not taking any chances of catching the deadly parasite. City leaders have noticed that despite the warmer temperatures, Terrebonne Parish residents have avoided traveling to locations where the Naegleria fowleri could be lurking such as pools and bayous. The parasite has been known to impact various freshwater sources, which include drinking and bathing water.
The Centers for Disease Control state that it is sporadic to get a deadly infection from Naegleria fowleri. The health organization noted that from 2007 to 2016, only 40 cases had been reported. A significant amount of the cases came from recreational water activities, while only one person was contaminated from a backyard slip-n-slide. Three other instances involved people performed nasal rinses.
"Normally we see this amoeba in surface water when people go swimming, and they get it way up in their sinuses, and they'll get an infection. They'll start getting symptoms that are similar to meningitis," said Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana Department of Health's medical director to CBS News.
A CDC spokesperson told Tech Times that people cannot get infected by the amoeba through drinking water. To prevent possible infections, they recommend holding your nose shut and avoid putting your head underwater. Also, they strongly recommend that people avoid digging up the sediment when in warm freshwater.
Last year, the Louisiana Department of Health noted that two of the states' water systems tested positive for the brain-eating amoeba. In addition to Terrebonne Parish, the Ouachita Parish's North Monroe Water System was also tested positive for the parasite. The health department advised that the water was safe to drink but cautioned residents not to let the water get into their nose.
In June 2016, 18-year-old Lauren Seitz contacted the brain-eating amoeba infection when she visited the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She passed away from the brain infection that is associated with Naegleria fowleri. Her family sued the U.S. National Whitewater Center for negligence and wrongful death one year following her passing.
The Terrebonne Parish community first faced the amoeba back in June 2015. Scientists discovered that the Naegleria fowleri was in a hydrant on Island Road in the Pointe Aux Chenes community. While a second test site was negative, other parishes were affected by the parasite.