Brain-eating amoeba, linked to death of 6-year-old Texas boy, invades community’s water supply

A rare, “brain-eating” amoeba has been detected in the Texas city of Lake Jackson’s water supply. ht

LAKE JACKSON, Texas — A rare, “brain-eating” amoeba has been detected in the Texas city of Lake Jackson’s water supply, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a disaster declaration.

“The state of Texas is taking swift action to respond to the situation and support the communities whose water systems have been impacted by this amoeba,” Abbott said in a prepared statement, announcing the declaration for Brazoria County.

“I urge Texans in Lake Jackson to follow the guidance of local officials and take the appropriate precautions to protect their health and safety as we work to restore safe tap water in the community.”

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According to The Guardian, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned the Brazosport Water Authority late Friday of the potential contamination of its water supply by naegleria fowleri. The initial warning applied to about 120,000 people.

By Sunday night, the contaminated area had been reduced to Lake Jackson only, and a boil-water notice was issued for that community. Lake Jackson residents were also advised to avoid allowing water from entering their noses when bathing, showering, swimming and washing their faces, KSAT reported.

Earlier this month, 6-year-old Josh McIntyre died after contracting the naegleria fowleri microbe, and Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo said in a Saturday news release that a hose bib at the boy’s home was one of three of 11 samples tested that indicated preliminary positive results for the brain-eating amoeba, KSAT reported.

The boil notice will remain in effect until the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality concludes flushing and disinfecting the city’s water supply, the TV station reported.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, naegleria fowleri is a microscopic amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, and the infection, once acquired, is usually fatal. The microbe typically infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, travels to the brain and, in some instances, can cause a “rare and debilitating” disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis, The Guardian reported.