Health officials in New Orleans, Louisianna, have announced that the presence of the deadly amoeba that feeds on brain tissue has been confirmed to be in the water supply of St. Bernard Parish, a suburb of New Orleans. The last time that this deadly amoeba was found in New Orleans was in 2013.
As a result, New Orleans has had three deaths resulting from the deadly amoeba over the last couple years, along with multiple people being treated for infections from the amoeba. A two-month chlorine burn within the water system of St. Bernard Parish is the solution that officials have come up with to solve this problem.
The amoeba being dealt with is called Naegleria fowleri. When the amoeba gets inside of the body, it begins to cause the brain tissue to no longer function properly. Patients will be diagnosed with a brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis. Basically, the meninges in the brain become inflamed and swell. The swelling of the brain increases intracranial pressure. The increased swelling and pressure on the brain and cause problems that impact breathing and other functions that regulate being alive. Becoming infected with this deadly amoeba leads to a high mortality rate due to the fact that the symptoms exhibited by the patient are the same as other, more common illnesses that need to be ruled out first.
The CDC has made sure to tell the residents of New Orleans and the surrounding areas that the water is safe to drink. The CDC has also made sure to list ways that the people in New Orleans, as well as other places that could potentially have this deadly amoeba, to take precautions.
- Hold your nose shut, use nose clips, or keep your head above water when taking part in water-related activities in bodies of warm freshwater.
- Avoid putting your head under the water in hot springs and other untreated thermal waters.
- Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature.
- Avoid digging in, or stirring up, the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm freshwater areas.
Health officials in New Orleans are asking the public to take the precautions listed by the CDC until they can confirm that the deadly amoeba is no longer in the water. As of now, 12 other water systems have been tested and health officials are waiting for their results in order to determine if the amoeba problem is in other areas besides New Orleans.
[Image via Shutterstock]