Brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana parish drinking water

BY Justin Scuiletti  August 28, 2014 at 11:08 AM EDT

A deadly amoeba known to fatally infect human brains has been discovered within a water system in Louisiana.

Louisiana health officials said a deadly amoeba has been detected in the water system of a parish that serves more than 12,000 people in three towns. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Louisiana health officials said a deadly amoeba has been detected in the water system of a parish that serves more than 12,000 people in three towns. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Officials from the Department of Health and Hospitals said Wednesday that the Naegleria fowleri, or “brain-eating” amoeba, was detected within the St. John Water District 1 water system, which serves 12,577 people through three towns within the St. John the Baptist Parish. The department said the water system did not maintain the state-required “minimum disinfectant residual level,” mandated after the same amoeba killed two people in two separate parishes in 2013.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections occur when amoeba-contaminated water enters through the nose. The CDC notes, however, that humans can not be infected by drinking water contaminated by the amoeba.

The department said there have been no reported incidents relating to the amoeba. The water system will be put through a chlorine burn today.