Brain-eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Waters for the First Time Since 2015
HOUMA, LOUISIANA — June 23, 2018
A potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba has been found again in the waters of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. It is evident to experts that any contact with it may potentially cause serious fatal brain swelling and tissue destruction
Vulnerability stems from many sources and can be traced to multiple points. A trace amount of the amoeba may be found in swimming pools and nearby bayous. Despite the Louisiana heat, residents are ignoring its existence. But really may simply be terrified of something they can't see but that officials warn is still present and deadly.
"It kind freaks me out because this is my home, I can't do what I usually do," said one of the residents Lindsey Dupre. "I want to know I'm secure rather than freak out over an amoeba."
This marks the third time the amoeba has been detected in the water since 2015. It was last year too. It impacts all fresh water sources ranging from drinking water to pool water to water used for showers.
"Normally we see this amoeba in surface water when people go swimming and they get it way up in their sinuses and they'll get an infection," said Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana Department of Health's medical director. "They'll start getting symptoms that are similar to meningitis."
The authorities advised residents to use pure chlorine wash to kill the microbes. This information is also accessible through the Terrebonne Consolidated Waterworks District site in section "BRAIN EATING AMOEBA FACTS." According to scientists' independent testing, chlorine is the only way to properly cauterize the site. In addition, people were advised to prevent from water from going up their nose during showers or when washing their face.
Most infections occur during the summer months in southern-tier states because the organism thrives in warmer waters, but it can also occur in northern regions as well.
An infection from the organism is rare, but it is almost always deadly. From 1962 to 2016, there were 143 reported cases, out which only four people survived. In Louisiana, two residents died in 2011 after using net pots to rinse out their noses, and a 4-year-old boy died in 2013 after spending hours in hot and muddy conditions near the water.
"It's not just getting water in your nose, it's getting water way up in your nose where the water burns," said Guidry, explaining that almost everyone who swims in public waters is exposed to the microbe, but very few get infections.
The onset of the disease typically begins within five days and includes symptoms such as headaches, fever and nausea. Later symptoms include hallucinations, loss of balance and seizures.