- The amoeba was found in the water supply in four separate locations
- Testing was done after a four-year-old boy died after contracted the deadly organism on a slip and slide
- Despite being filled with deadly amoebas, the water is safe to drink, according to officials
By Ryan Gorman
PUBLISHED: 13:16 EST, 16 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:17 EST, 16 September 2013
The notorious brain-eating amoeba responsible for multiple deaths has been found in the suburban New Orleans water supply.
Found last week in St Bernard Parish, LA., to the east of New Orleans, officials began testing for the amoeba after a child died of encephalitis. Officials insist the water is safe to drink, but are flushing the supply with increased levels of chlorine to be safe.
The Parish supervisor even drank tap water during a televised interview to prove the point, though he did look a little uneasy after swallowing.
Killer: This brain eating amoeba, found in a suburban New Orleans public water supply, killed a four-year-old boy
‘Two sites from fire hydrants came up with the presence and two sites at water bibs, which is the water facets at people houses,’ Peralta explained to WWL.
Conducted after a four-year-old boy died after contracting the lethal amoeba while on a slip and slide, authorities confirmed the amoeba was found in four locations tested from the municipal water supply.
‘It was the only time where he was in contact with some water that could have penetrated all the way up into his nose,’ Louisiana State Epidemiologist Raoult Ratard said.
‘If there is even the slightest risk, I have to treat it and I have to treat the entire system,’ Parish President Dave Peralta told Fox 8, explaining the increased levels of chlorine in the supply.
The Parish head further explained that the testing shouldn’t be a complete cause for concern. ‘Not all of the sites that the CDC tested came back positive,’ he told Fox 8.
Further defending the Parish’s water supply, Peralta said ‘this parasite exists all over, it’s not unique to St. Bernard Parish.’
Would you drink this water?: Officials insist it is safe to drink, despite being filled with brain eating amoebas
For now, officials are cautioning locals to be cautious with sprinklers, slip and slides and pools.
‘You just have to be a little more careful,’ said Mr Ratard.
‘The only way you can get the amoeba is to get inside the nose,’ Mr Ratard explained to WGNO.
‘Yes your nose. It`s got to go up your nose,’ local Edgar Brown said to WGNO. ‘That could happen in the shower you know? I`m trying to be very careful.’
Actions speak louder: Parish President Dave Peralta drank a glass of tap water on television to prove it’s safe
‘When you take a shower water usually goes down. It does not go up.’ Mr Ratard confirmed to WGNO. ‘If you take a bath, don`t put your head under water. You want to be sure the amoeba is not there? You make sure there is enough chlorine in the water.’
Almost 120 people have died of the deadly organism since the early 1960s, most notably a 12-year-old Florida boy this summer.
Local schools have turned off water fountains and closed pools as a precaution.