The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had issued a warning, telling the locals of a Texan city to avoid consuming tap water, after a brain-eating amoeba had been found in it.
The brain-eating amoeba is called Naegleria fowleri and it can be found in freshwater. The problem is that once it gets up your nose, it can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, a rare and fatal brain illness, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.
Most of the times, the deaths caused by this brain-eating amoeba happen after a person has swimmed in freshwater. However, there are rare instances in which Naegleria infections happen due to contaminated water from other sources enters the nose. Those sources include swimming pools that are not chlorinated properly or heated tap water. Once infected, patients experience symptoms such as seizures, vomiting and hallucinating. Most of them die within a week after the initial infection.
The test conducted on the water system of the Texan city had been conducted after a six-year-old boy died after getting infected with the brain-eating amoeba. The presence of the amoeba had then been identified in the hose bib at the boy’s home. Since then, the TCEQ had issued a statement, announcing that they are working to flush and disinfect the system.
Furthermore, the TCEQ announced that the warning had been lifted for all the communities in the area, with one exception – Lake Jackson, where the 27.000 residents had been advised to boil the tap water if using it or just avoid using it altogether.
Deaths from Naegleria fowleri are usually extremely rare in the United States – much less when the source of infection is the public water supply, according to Science Alert. In 2011, a person from Louisiana died after coming in contact with the bacteria from the public water supply. The same thing happened to another Louisianian in 2013.
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