Posted: Sep 6, 2013 5:37 PM by Adrian Pittman
Updated: Sep 6, 2013 5:37 PM
BATON ROUGE- State health officials are calming the nerves of people who are worried after a 4-year-old died from a brain eating parasite in St. Bernard Parish this week.
State health leaders urge people not to fear their water system.
The Department of Health and Hospitals believes the child contracted the amoeba from water mixed with mud while playing on a slip-and-slide.
The amoeba was also found inside the home but say not in the parish water lines.
The parasite is normally found in warm freshwater like lakes, ponds, and rivers. When inhaled, it could go to the brain which then turns deadly.
"It starts eating the brain tissue and therefor that's when people have bad outcome because it's hard to treat once it gets up there. Usually within 12 days you can die from this infection," said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, with DHH.
The parasite is rarely found in water systems.
There is a warning for people who swim in freshwater: avoid inhaling the water through your nose.