Health Official Explains Brain Amoeba in Water System
A chlorine burn is currently being done throughout the Bossier City water system. This is the result of a positive test for a brain eating amoeba in the system.
The water is still safe to drink, but you should not get it into your nose.
Dr. Martha Whyte with the Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health says this is not a very serious health concern. She says on a scale of 1 to 10, it's about a "1".
Dr. Whyte says fewer than 40 people have been infected in the U.S. over the past 10 years.
In the U.S., the amoeba are typically found in freshwater sources in southern states. In addition to lakes and rivers, these include hot springs, warn water runoff from industrial plants, poorly maintained swimming pools, and water heaters kept at temperatures below 117 degrees. The amoeba can also be found in soil.
Typically, Naegleria fowleri amoeba infect people through the nose. Once they get inside the nasal passage, they can travel to the brain, where they destroy tissue.
Drinking contaminated water does not lead to infection. In very rare instances.