Community meeting to be held about brain-eating amoeba in water

ST. BERNARD, LA (WAFB) - State Health Officials in St. Bernard Parish are holding another community meeting to discuss the brain-damaging amoeba called Naegleria fowleri found in the parish water.

Experts say Hurricane Katrina may be to blame for a rare brain-eating amoeba in Louisiana.

A boy was infected with the parasite in St. Bernard Parish last month while playing on a water slide and he later died.

State officials said the reduced population there following Katrina left most of the water stagnant, allowing organisms like the deadly amoeba to thrive.

During the meeting, residents are hoping to receive answers to lingering questions about what is being done to clean the water system.

Last week, residents learned the St. Bernard Parish water system will continue to be flushed and treated with chlorine for at least three more weeks.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is trying to put to rest myths and rumors associated with the recent news of a brain-eating amoeba in the St. Bernard Parish water system.

DHH has released a "Myth vs. Fact" rundown of these myths about the amoeba, called "Naegleria fowleri," and drinking water in the state.

Officials said the chief myth is that water in the state isn't safe to drink. The CDC said the amoeba is killed by normal levels of stomach acid and the only concern is if water goes up a person's nose.

DHH recommended people in St. Bernard Parish take precautions to avoid getting water in their noses.

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