Warning issued after 'brain-eating amoeba' found in southeast Texas water supply

Warning issued after 'brain-eating amoeba' found in southeast Texas water supply

An investigation into the city's water supply began after a six-year-old boy contracted the microbe and died earlier this month, Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo told reporters. This has since been updated to a "boil water notice" as of yesterday evening, advising residents to boil tap water before drinking it or using it to cook with and to take extra precautions when showering and washing.

The mortality rate of the amoeba infections is 90 to 95 per cent if it enters via the nose. The warning has since been lifted for all cities listed except for Lake Jackson residents.

Naegleria fowleri occurs naturally in freshwater and is found around the world.

A "Do Not Use" water advisory was issued for Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, Rosenberg, Dow Chemical, TDCJ Clemens & TDCJ Wayne Scott, according to the commission's social media post.

"After his diagnosis, the family had indicated two possible water sources where he could have been exposed to the ameba; one being the Lake Jackson Civic Center Splash Pad and the other being a hose at his home".

The communities were warned to refrain from using tap water for any reason other than to flush toilets but the warning was lifted in seven out of the eight communities by Saturday.

Contamination of water supplies by Naegleria fowleri is rare, but when it is detected authorities respond immediately to prohibit the use of the water.

"After extensive conversations with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as well as ensuring that Brazosport Water Authority has an adequate disinfectant residual, a determination has been made that there is no safety issue for BWA's distribution system", according to a statement from TCEQ on Saturday. As per the data provided by the CDC, almost 145 people were infected from 1962 to 2018 and only four survived the infection.

Those infected with Naegleria fowleri have symptoms including fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headaches.

Lake Jackson, however, remained under a "Do Not Drink" order.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, naegleria fowleri is a "free-living microscopic ameba" that can cause "a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis".

Infections are rare in the United States, with 34 deaths recorded between 2009-18.

Officials started conducting tests on the city's water system after a six-year-old boy, Josh McIntyre, died after contact with the microbe, reported local media outlets.

An infection was previously confirmed in the U.S. state of Florida earlier this year.

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