A focused effort to rid a Louisiana water system of a rare but deadly amoeba by raising the minimum chlorine disinfectant level is paying off. The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals announced recently that 22 water samples taken in St. Bernard Parish in late January tested negative for the amoeba Naegleria fowleri. A new statewide disinfection rule mandates a minimum level of 0.5 parts per million of chlorine at all points in water distribution systems, up from the federal requirement to maintain a “trace” or “detectable” level of chlorine.
Why the Fuss about Naegleria?
Two Louisiana deaths in 2011 and one in 2013 are blamed on Naegleria, the “brain-eating” amoeba, which can migrate to the brain from nasal passages exposed to this pathogen, causing “amoebic meningoencephalitis” (“PAM”) and almost certain death. People cannot be infected with this parasite by drinking water, only by nasally inhaling it or … READ MORE >>