NEW ORLEANS -- The type of brain-eating amoeba that killed a boy in St. Bernard Parish last month has been found in the DeSoto Parish water system, in northwest Louisiana.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals made the announcement Tuesday that officials found the rare Naegleria fowleri ameba in five locations in DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1, one of 14 water systems in the parish in north Louisiana.
Parish officials say there are no reported cases in the parish of someone contracting the amoeba.
The parish will begin flushing its system with additional chlorine to kill the amoeba on Wednesday.
Preventative measures recommended by the CDC include the following:
- DO NOT allow water to go up your nose or sniff water into your nose when bathing, showering, washing your face, or swimming in small hard plastic/blow-up pools.
- DO NOT jump into or put your head under bathing water (bathtubs, small hard plastic/blow-up pools) - walk or lower yourself in.
- DO NOT allow children to play unsupervised with hoses or sprinklers, as they may accidentally squirt water up their nose. Avoid slip-n-slides or other activities where it is difficult to prevent water going up the nose.
- DO run bath and shower taps and hoses for 5 minutes before use to flush out the pipes. This is most important the first time you use the tap after the water utility raises the disinfectant level.
- DO keep small hard plastic/blow-up pools clean by emptying, scrubbing, and allowing them to dry after each use.
- DO use only boiled and cooled, distilled, or sterile water for making sinus rinse solutions for neti pots or performing ritual ablutions.
- DO keep your swimming pool adequately disinfected before and during use. Adequate disinfection means:
- Pools: free chlorine at 1-3 parts per million (ppm) and pH 7.2-7.8
- Hot tubs/spas: free chlorine 2-4 parts per million (ppm) or free bromine 4-6 ppm and pH 7.2-7.8
- If you need to top off the water in your swimming pool with tap water,
- Place the hose directly into the skimmer box and ensure that the filter is running. Do not top off by placing the hose in the body of the pool.