The drinking water, lakes and ponds in parts of Louisiana have tested positive for a brain eating amoeba that gains access to the brain through nasal passages.
USA Today reports,
St. John the Baptist Parish officials are carefully monitoring the parish’s water system after test results confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri, which is a deadly amoeba that can infect the brain.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, or DHH, issued an emergency order late Wednesday requiring the parish to perform a chlorine burn throughout its water system to kill the amoeba. Read more…
The CDC recommends the following preventative measures:
• 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.
• 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 allowing them to dry 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.
• Do keep your swimming pool adequately disinfected before and during use. Adequate disinfection means: pools: free chlorine at 1-3 parts per million (ppm) and pH 7.2-7.8, and hot tubs/spas: free chlorine 2-4 parts per million (ppm) or free bromine 4-6 ppm and pH 7.2-7.8.
• If you need to top off the water in your swimming pool with tap water, place the hose directly into the skimmer box and ensure that the filter is running. Do not top off by placing the hose in the body of the pool.