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Deadly amoeba not likely in Baton Rouge

3 years 2 months 3 weeks ago September 13, 2013 Sep 13, 2013 Friday, September 13 2013 September 13, 2013 10:08 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brittany Weiss

BATON ROUGE - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Thursday they found a brain-eating amoeba in the St. Bernard Parish water system.

Four locations tested positive in the parish, located just outside of New Orleans. One of those areas was in the home of a child. The 4-year-old died last week from the amoeba.

A spokesperson from Public Works in St. Bernard Parish says, their water is treated from the Mississippi River. Department of Health and Hospitals says some water samples showed low residual levels of chlorine.

Hays Owen of the Baton Rouge Water Company says river water requires extra filtration.

"To treat river water, or surface water, that's a totally different deal," said Owen.

"I have not heard of an amoeba coming from a water distribution system. Or being found in a water distribution system."

Drinking water in Baton Rouge comes from underwater lakes. It comes from rainwater that has trickled through the Earth's natural filtration system.

There are 95 wells at 65 sites around the capitol city. Each well is sealed to prevent contamination. Owen says he's not concerned for the Baton Rouge water system.
"It's a completely different water that is being distributed here in Baton Rouge," said Owen.

The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, is a rare infection that has been associated with three deaths traced to water in Louisiana since 2011. While the water is safe to drink, there is a risk if the amoeba enters the nose.

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