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Louisiana: Naegleria fowleri confirmed in DeSoto Parish water system

A month after 4-year-old Drake Smith Jr in Louisiana died from the deadly, “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri, while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana and after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the presence of the ameba in the Parish’s water system, Louisiana health officials are reporting the presence of Naegleria in five locations in DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1, which is one of 14 water systems in the parish.

Naegleria fowleri Life Cycle Image/DPDx-CDC

Naegleria fowleri Life Cycle
Image/DPDx-CDC

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) said the water system was sampled out of an abundance of caution and there are no known current cases of illness related to the ameba in DeSoto Parish or elsewhere in the state.

Starting today, Waterworks District No. 1 will flush its system with additional chlorine to kill the ameba.

DHH officials selected the DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1 water system for additional testing because the area was the site of one of two 2011 Naegleria fowleri-related deaths in Louisiana.

At the time of the 2011 deaths in DeSoto and St. Bernard parishes, officials could only confirm the presence of the ameba in the homes of the deceased, but not in the water systems. More advanced sampling technology is now available through the CDC.

Health officials say free chlorine or chloramine residual at 0.5 milligram per liter or higher will control the ameba, provided the disinfectant is present at that level throughout the water supply system continually.

The Waterworks District No. 1 in DeSoto Parish informed DHH late Tuesday that it will begin a free chlorine burn in its water system tomorrow morning to achieve a 1.0 milligram per liter free chlorine residual throughout the system. This chlorine burn will last for 60 days after the system reaches the required level.

“We are working closely with the water system and parish officials to ensure that the chlorine levels are increased to a level that will eliminate the risk of exposure to the ameba,” said DHH Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane. “Water from the DeSoto Parish Water Works District No. 1 remains safe to drink; however, we do have guidance for residents on steps they can take to reduce their risk.”

“Families can take simple steps to protect themselves from exposure to this ameba, the most important being to avoid allowing water to go up your nose while bathing or swimming in a pool,” said Louisiana State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry. “It is important to remember that the water is safe to drink; the ameba cannot infect an individual through the stomach.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Louisiana: Naegleria fowleri discovered in the St. John water system | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the presence of the ameba in the St. Bernard Parish Water System and DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. […]

  2. Louisiana to raise chlorine levels in drinking water in response to finding Naegleria fowleri water system - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry and DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert signed the rule on Wednesday, following discussions with scientists, federal officials, industry leaders and water system operators. The Emergency Rule is based on scientific data and recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relative to the control of the Naegleria fowleri ameba that was discovered in two public water systems in the state. […]

  3. Deadly Amoeba Infiltrates Second Louisana Water System | Prepper Podcast Radio Network says:

    […] Louisiana: Naegleria fowleri confirmed in DeSoto Parish water system […]

  4. Louisiana recommends increasing chlorine levels as citizens petition for safe water - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to a story Wednesday, officials with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announced that they are […]

  5. Jamie says:

    I’m a St. Bernard Parish resident, and I began a petition in response to the recent issues we’ve had with Naegleria fowleri in our area to help protect the entire state from this threat… change.org/users/BetterWaterLA. Please sign and share to help prevent this from happening. These deaths from our own tap water are unnecessary and preventable. My thoughts and prayers go out to their community.

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