According to state health officials, scientists have found a rare and deadly amoeba in the Louisiana water supply, one month after a child died of a brain infection caused by the deadly organism. The state Department of Health and Hospitals announced that tests conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirm that four locations within the St. Bernard Parish water system, tested positive for Naegleria fowleri amoeba. Previous tests have confirmed that the amoeba was also present at the home of Dr. Raoult Ratard, who is the state’s epidemiologist.
Since discovering the link between the amoeba and the death of the young child, the St. Barnard Parish began to flush its water supply system with additional chlorine as a precaution. Although health officials say the water is safe drink, it can still cause an infection if the deadly organism reaches a person’s nose. Officials are expected to keep flushing out water systems with chlorine for the next couple of weeks. Two other parishes in the state have also acted in response to the discovery.
Those infected can experience several symptoms within the early stages of infection including headache, fever, vomiting, nausea, and stiff neck. Later stages of infection include loss of balance, confusion, hallucinations, and seizures.