Bossier Water Tests Positive for Brain Eating Amoeba
The Louisiana Department of Health has announced that water samples taken from Bossier City have tested positive for brain eating amoeba. Several samples taken from the southern part of Bossier tested positive for the parasite.
This comes one day after the city announced it was conducting a chlorine flush of its water distribution system. The flush is already underway and is expected to take 60 days to complete.
After tests of the Sligo water system tested positive for brain eating amoeba, which Bossier provides water to, the City issued a statement saying their water was safe and did not show any signs of the parasite.
"In light of the outcome of recent tests conducted on the Sligo Water System, the city wants to address residents concerns about the Bossier City Water System. The Bossier City Water System complies with and meets all state and federal regulations and no advisories are in place for Bossier City," a statement from the City of Bossier read shortly after the initial discovery.
As an extra precaution, Louisiana Health Officials have also ordered Benton's CBB Water to conduct a chlorine burn of its system. Bossier provides CBB with water for distribution. Numerous tests of Benton's water supply have come up negative for the presence of the parasite, but since their supplier tested positive, the State is taking the precautionary measure.
In the meantime, the water in Bossier is safe to drink and use. Brain eating amoeba is only dangerous if contaminated water enters a person's nasal passage.
In a media release following the discovery, Bossier City sent out the following list of dos and don'ts on water use until the completion of the chlorine burn:
Precautionary Measures for Families
According to the CDC, personal actions to reduce the risk of Naegleria fowleri infection should focus on limiting the amount of water going up a person's nose and lowering the chances that Naegleria fowleri may be in the water. Preventative measures recommended by the CDC include the following:
- DO NOT allow water to go up your nose or sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small hard plastic/blow-up pools.
- DO NOT jump into or put your head under bathing water (bathtubs, small hard plastic/blow-up pools). Walk or lower yourself in instead.
- DO NOT allow children to play unsupervised with hoses or sprinklers, as they may accidentally squirt water up their nose. Avoid slip-n-slides or other activities where it is difficult to prevent water going up the nose.
- DO run bath and shower taps and hoses for five minutes before use to flush out the pipes. This is most important the first time you use the tap after the water utility raises the disinfectant level.
- DO keep small hard plastic/blow-up pools clean by emptying, scrubbing, and drying them after each use.
- DO use only boiled and cooled, distilled or sterile water for making sinus rinse solutions for neti pots or performing ritual ablutions.
- If you need to manually top off the water in your swimming pool with tap water, follow the guidance below.
- DO ensure that the filter is running and top off your pool by adding water directly* into the skimmer box.
- DO NOT top off your pool by submerging the hose in the body of the pool.
- *NOTE: The hose should not be submerged into the skimmer box or pool water. Hold the end of your hose in the air at least two inches above the flood-level rim of the skimmer box. This can be accomplished by securing the hose to a heavy object such as a chair or cinder block above the skimmer and ensuring the hose will run into the skimmer box without the hose being submerged.
- DO keep your swimming pool or hot tub adequately disinfected before and during use. Adequate disinfection standards are listed below.
- For pools, keep pH levels from 7.2 to 7.8. If you are using cyanuric acid-free chlorine, use between two and 10 parts per million. If you are not using cyanuric acid-free chlorine, keep chlorine levels at one to three parts per million.
- For hot tubs and spas, keep pH levels from 7.2 to 7.8, and keep either free chlorine levels from two to four parts per million or free bromine levels from four to six parts per million.