Brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana tap water

The Louisiana Department of Health on June 29 confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri — commonly referred to as the brain-eating amoeba — in two community water systems.

Health officials detected the amoeba in Ouachita Parish's North Monroe Water System and Terrebonne Parish's Schriever Water System.

"The Department asked the water system[s] to convert the disinfection method to the free chlorine method for a period of 60 days to ensure that any remaining amoeba in the system are eliminated," said the department.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is native to warm freshwater. When the amoeba enters the body through the nose, the brain infection primary amebic meningoencephalitis can occur. The illness is almost always fatal. There were 138 cases of PAM in the United States between 1962 and 2015. Of those cases, just three survived, according to the CDC.

While the water is considered safe to drink, health officials are warning community members to not get water in their noses while bathing or swimming in pools filled with the tap water.

More articles on infection control: 
Top 10 infection control stories, June 26-30 
Measles, hepatitis A, plague: 5 recent and ongoing outbreaks 
Top 10 infection control stories in June

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