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GRAYVILLE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has issued an emergency order requiring St. John the Baptist Parish to conduct a 60-day chorline burn, adding more chlorine to the water system.

This comes after state officials found a deadly brain-eating amoeba in the water supply.

Officials found the rare parasite in the parish Wednesday for Water District 1, which serves more than 12,000 residents across Reserve, Garyville and Mt Airy.

While parish officials flush the water supply and elevate chlorine levels, they say residents may notice a strong odor and some discoloration in the water. However, they say the water is perfectly safe to drink and cook with.

Officials are asking residents to exercise caution to make sure water does not go up your nose.

While they treat the water, parish officials say they will continue to investigate how chlorine levels in the affected area dipped below state requirement in the first place.

'There was no evidence to suggest that it was lower than the required level, otherwise we would have made adjustments at the plant,' said Parish President Natalie Robottom. 'But we're continuing to look at that, DHHis looking at that as well.We've brought in additional consultants to assist with that. We're going to review the protocol.'

Parish officials say the sample was taken two weeks ago, but they did not receive confirmation the amoeba was present until Wednesday.

In addition to Reserve, Garyville and Mt. Airy, affected area also includes a small section of LaPlace at Dew Point Curve on West 5th Street from Apricot to Acorn streets.

For more informaton, call 985-265-2222.

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 five 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, and
  • 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.

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