A disaster declaration has been issued by the governor of Texas after the water supply of one Houston suburb has a tainted water supply. Environmental officials have warned residents of Lake Jackson, Texas to boil their water before using it for cooking or drinking after a six-year-old boy died from a brain-eating amoeba discovered in the water.
Tests for naegleria fowleri showed its presence in three of 11 samples in the Lake Jackson area, including one from a hose at the boy’s home, according to the Associated Press. Texas Governor Greg Abbot referred to the water sample tests when he issued the disaster declaration on Sunday. He said, “the presence of naegleria fowleri, which can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, was identified in three of 11 tests of the water supply, posing an imminent threat to public health and safety, including loss of life,” as CBS News reported.
Health officials let Lake Jackson know that a boy had become infected with the brain-eating amoeba in early September. Exposure to the microbe usually happens through the nose and the boy’s family believes he was exposed through the family’s hose or from the nearby Lake Jackson Civic Center Splash Pad where water sprays up from the ground. – The New York Times.
Lake Jackson, a city of 27,000, will see its water flushed and then tested before the “do not drink” order is lifted, according to the BBC. “During this period of disinfection and flushing, boiling the tap water makes it safe for drinking and cooking,” said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in a statement, as the AP reported. “Naegleria fowleri is a type of amoeba that can be managed using standard treatment and disinfection processes.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria. You can only be infected when contaminated water goes up into your nose.