A brain-eating amoeba that killed two people in two weeks ago has turned up in the water supply of a Louisiana county near New Orleans for the second time in two years. The water supply of St. Bernard Parish (Louisiana counties are called parishes), which is located five miles outside of downtown New Orleans, is undergoing a 60-day chlorine “burn” to eradicate Naegleria fowleri, the Louisiana Department of Heath and Hospitals announced.
Officials say the burn is being conducted “out of caution,” adding that the tap water is safe to drink because you cannot become ill by drinking infected water. However, they warn that residents should avoid getting water in their noses because it can infect people via that route. It travels up the nose and into the brain, where it typically causes an infection of the lining around the brain (meningitis) and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Symptoms often include severe headaches, fever, and a stiff neck. MORE