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Brain-eating microbe: Residents of Texas asked not to use tap water

After the authorities disinfected the water, residents were asked to use boiled water and to be watchful that the water doesn’t enter through the nose while bathing.

Updated: Sep 27, 2020, 19:51 IST

By | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times New Delhi

The microscopic amoeba enters the body through the nose and then travels to the brain, leading to debilitating effect. (Photo: Reuters)

Residents of Lake Jackson, Texas were asked not to use tap water after a brain-eating microbe wasfound in the water supply, which the authorities thoroughly disinfected, BBC reported. A six-year-old boy reportedly cotracted the microbe and died earlier this month. According to reports, the boy, Josiah McIntryre, got infected by water of that area. The residents were strictly asked not to use tap water except for flushing the toilet.

Naegleria fowleri, the microscopic amoeba, can cause a deadly infection in the brain.

The amoeba enters the body through nose and from there, it travels to the brain. Josiah’s mother, Maria Castillo, said her son died at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston on 8 September, and that doctors told her the cause was the brain-eating amoeba, NBC News reported.

The areas affected include Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, and Rosenberg. However, the warning was later lifted from the other places except Lake Jackson.

The contamination of US treated public water systems by the microbe is rare but not unheard of. According to the CDC website, the first deaths from naegleria fowleri found in tap water from treated US public drinking water systems occurred in southern Louisiana in 2011 and 2013. The microbe also was found in 2003 in an untreated geothermal well-supplied drinking water system in Arizona, as well as in disinfected public drinking water supplies in Australia in the 1970s and ’80s and in 2008 in Pakistan.

(With agency inputs)


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