Louisiana ‘brain-eating amoeba’ death linked to water at St. Bernard Parish home

A child who died from encephalitis caused by the pathogenic amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana, has been linked to water at the home, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).

Naegleria fowleri Image/CDC

Naegleria fowleri

Health officials are confirming that the lethal parasite was found in water samples taken from the home; however, initial tests of the parish water system are negative.

Because some DHH tests showed low levels of chlorine in some areas of the system, the parish is taking preventative measures to flush its water system and DHH will perform additional testing.

Related story: Neti pots, Naegleria and you

Assistant Secretary for Public Health J.T. Lane said, “We are working with the parish to make sure precautionary measures are being taken while we await additional test results on samples taken from the area’s water system.”

Parish President David Peralta said, “After notification from our state and federal partners regarding this matter, we conducted immediate and exhaustive testing of the entire water supply of St. Bernard Parish.  The CDC’s testing detected no evidence of the parasite, however out of abundance of caution; steps were taken immediately to continue to ensure a safe water supply in St. Bernard Parish.  We will continue enhanced monitoring and testing of the water supply.”

Using a common preventative maintenance measure, the parish began treating its water system this afternoon with safe levels of additional chlorine and flushing any trace of contaminants from the water system by pushing water through the lines. During this time, the water may have a strong odor of chlorine, may have a different taste and may have slight discoloration. The water will remain safe to drink during this process. Naegleria fowleri cannot be contracted through the act of drinking water, the press release notes.

The administrators at the Facebook page, Swim above Water wrote:

There is still so very much to learn. So much research needs to be done and options need to become available. This is why we are working so hard (along with our friends across the country) to raise awareness, raise funds for research, educate everyone of this risk. What we now know: Freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds and hot springs pose a risk, tap water by use of neti-pots or while using a slip and slide are a risk, ditch water mudding is a risk, swimming in a freshwater/ chlorinated water park is a risk, splash pads are a risk. What remains safe are properly chlorinated swimming pools and salt water. Please once again join us in prayer for this 4 year old child and his family. Our hearts are with them.

The name of the child has not been released.

LISTEN: CDC expert, Dr. Jennifer Cope talks parasitic meningitis and Naegleria fowleri

According to the CDC, personal actions to reduce the risk of Naegleria fowleri infection should focus on limiting the amount of water going up a person’s nose and lowering the chances that Naegleria fowleri may be in the water.

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

    […] This comes after the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri was confirmed in the water systems of St. Bernard and DeSoto Parishes and the death of 4-year-old Drake Smith Jr . […]

  2. Louisiana issues ‘Fact vs Fiction’ info on Naegleria fowleri after ameba confirmed in water system - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Earlier this month it was reported that a 4-year-old child contracted the deadly ameba while playing on a Slip-and-Slide while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish. […]

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    […] A four-year-old child was killed by the amoeba while playing with a water toy while visiting a home in St. Bernard Parish this past summer. […]

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    […] month after 4-year-old Drake Smith Jr in Louisiana died from the deadly, “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri, while visiting a home […]

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    […] child, Kali Hardig, to the publicized use of  the investigational drug called miltefosine to the case in Louisiana where a child reportedly contracted the amoeba while playing on a […]

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  10. Heidi LaMeyer says:

    Thank you for putting focus on this deadly infection. We at Swim Above Water will continue to work to raise awareness and education on prevention of amoebic meningitis. We appreciate the ability to contribute.

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