Texas city warned its water supply is contaminated by brain-eating microbe
BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas - Officials have warned residents of a city within the Greater Houston metropolitan area that their water supply has been compromised by a deadly, brain-eating microbe, the BBC reports.
Tests confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the city of Lake Jackson's water system. The amoeba is known for its ability to cause an often fatal brain infection.
The BBC says infections are rare in the US, with 34 reported between 2009 and 2018.
Officials of the Brazoria County city said they're in the process of disinfecting the water supply and are unsure how long the process will take. The process involves flushing the water system followed by a series of tests to ensure the supply is safe for use.
Eight Texas communities were originally told on Friday night not to use their water supply for any reason except to flush toilets, and according to the BBC, the warning was lifted on Saturday for everywhere but Lake Jackson.
Lake Jackson authorities told the public they could begin using the water later but also warned them to boil water before drinking it. Residents were also told to make sure water didn't go up their noses while showering or bathing.
Officials also said children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems were "particularly vulnerable." Symptoms of the infection caused by Naegleria fowleri include fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headaches. Most who are infected lose their lives within a week.
The BBC reports that an investigation into the city's water supply began after a six-year-old boy contracted the microbe and died earlier this month, Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo told reporters.