The brain-eating amoeba that has been running rampant in the warm waters of the south has just been identified in Louisiana drinking water.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed last Thursday that the St. Bernard Water System was in fact hosting the presence of Naegleria fowleri, the proper name for the amoeba, due to a lack of chlorine in its lines.
According to Louisiana’s Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH), Assistant Secretary for Public Health J.T. Lane said, "We know that chlorine kills Naegleria fowleri, which is why it was critical that the parish proactively began flushing its water system with additional chlorine last week. The parish will continue this action until it raises chlorine residuals to recommended levels and this process will continue for several weeks.”
As this process is underway, officials conclude that the water is still safe to drink, but they caution against getting any water into the nose, which is where the amoeba can take a short hike to the brain and cause primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
We’re not sure we would feel comfortable drinking any water in Louisiana or the surrounding states unless it has been boiled. For anyone who has ever choked on water or laughed while drinking, it’s all too easy to force a good amount of liquid back through your nose on its way out. And how are people supposed to cope with bathing?
As for the mission to properly chlorinate the parish’s water supply lines, we wonder why the chlorine levels weren’t up to par in the first place? This amoeba is not new, and considering its occurrence is more notable in the south where the temperatures reach their highest in the country, we would think this would be one of the state’s main concerns. After all, chlorine is said to kill the amoeba.
We sincerely hope that everyone in Louisiana and the surrounding areas have been careful with their water ever since this news was released. It is known that Naegleria fowleri kills 99 percent of its victims, and considering the fact that young Kali Hardig is successfully recovering from her amoebic infection this summer, we say the odds are more none than slim.