Dangerous brain-eating amoeba contaminated Texas water supplies
Residents of eight cities have been alerted that it was found a brain-eating amoeba in a water supply in southeast Texas, prompting one of the towns to issue a disaster declaration, CNN reported.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a water advisory to residents served by the Brazosport Water Authority warning customers that don’t use water due to the presence of Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba, found in the water supply Friday night.
“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, under the direction of the Governor’s Office, is working with the Brazosport Water Authority to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” it reads in the notice.
* UPDATE * Do Not Use Water Advisory LIFTED for most Brazosport Water Authority users
Lake Jackson residents are still urged to heed DO NOT USE Water Advisory. https://t.co/QEJ0uTNGUi pic.twitter.com/N8f1wVxnfT
– Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (@TCEQ) September 26, 2020
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The brain-eating amoeba is commonly found in soil, warm lakes, rivers, and hot springs. It can also be found in poorly maintained or chlorine-free swimming pools and hot water discharges from industrial plants.
He Notice not to use water was initially issued to residents of Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, and Rosenberg, Texas, as well as the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport and the Clemens and Wayne Scott Texas Department of Penal justice penitentiary facilities. Since then, the TCEQ has cleared all but one of the locations, according to the statement posted on Twitter.
Disaster declaration issued in Lake Jackson
Lake Jackson has issued a disaster declaration and residents are still urged to heed the No Water Notice until the Brazosport Water Authority has completed a proper flush of its water system, per the TCEQ.
The incident began on September 8, when the city learned of a 6-year-old boy who was hospitalized with the amoeba.
The child’s condition can be traced to two possible sources: a “splash pad” from a water feature in front of the Lake Jackson Civic Center or through water emitted by a hose at the boy’s home, according to a city statement.
City officials said the splash pad was immediately closed and a private laboratory was hired to perform a test on a five-gallon water sample from the fountain.
Results came back negative on Sept. 14 for Naegleria fowleri, and the CDC was contacted to conduct further water tests from the splash pad.
Representatives from the Texas Department of Health Services collected water and analyzed samples from the splash pad for the CDC, and on September 25, three of the 11 water samples tested positive for Naegleria fowleri.
The CDC sent the test results to the TCEQ, and The Texas agency then required the Brazosport Water Authority to issue a No Water Use notice for its customer base, the statement reads.
The TCEQ is currently testing the chlorine levels in the City of Lake Jackson’s water source and has determined that it will take about three days to clean the system. Meanwhile, local residents can receive a free box of water from the city.
The CDC says that while Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, most are fatal. From 2009 to 2018, only 34 infections were reported in the United States. Of the reported cases, 30 people were infected with recreational water.
According to the CDC, 145 people were infected between 1962 and 2018 and only four survived.