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LDH Finds Brain-Eating Amoebas In Terrebonne, Ouachita Water Systems

water faucet (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
water faucet (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

The state department of health has found brain eating amoebas in the water systems in both Terrebonne and Ouachita parish.

State health officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says while the water is safe to drink and bathe in, people should make sure it does not get in their nose.

“You just don’t want to get it up your nose. This will go up into your sinuses to infect you, so you can avoid getting this infection. It’s not a common infection, but if you do get it, it’s a serious infection,” Guidry said.

The amoeba causes an infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue. Louisiana has had three deaths from this amoeba that came from drinking water. Guidry says they know at this time of year they have to be diligent about looking for it and addressing it because it thrives in warm water.

“It loves warm water. It thrives in warm water. When the water gets really hot, even if we have disinfectant, it’s hard to get rid of it,” Guidry said.

These two systems also had the amoebas in 2015. Guidry says the Department of Health is asking the two systems to treat the water with more chlorine to get rid of the amoebas.

“They’re going to be converting over to more chlorine in the water to make sure that we kill the amoeba. Soo they’ll be elevating it to 1 mg/liter and running that for 60 days,” Guidry said.

For more information on how to keep your water clean, visit ldh.la.gov.

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