CBSN

Amoeba linked to boy's death found in another Louisiana parish's water supply

BATON ROUGE, La.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report the rare "brain-eating" amoeba that caused the August death of a 4-year-old in south Louisiana has been found in five locations in a north Louisiana water system.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals said Tuesday the CDC confirmed the presence of the Naegleria fowleri in five places in DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1, which is one of 14 water systems in the northwest Louisiana parish, CBS affiliate WWLTV in New Orleans reported.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba can cause a rare but deadly brain infection known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that is almost always fatal. The amoeba can only cause disease if it is ingested through the nose and enters the brain; drinking water won't raise risk.

State health officials say there are no known current cases of illness related to the discovery in DeSoto or elsewhere in Louisiana.

The water system said it will begin a free chlorine burn in the system Wednesday to last for 60 days.

Health officials began testing the DeSoto system as a precaution after St. Bernard Parish's water system tested positive. DeSoto was the site of one of two 2011 amoeba-related deaths in Louisiana.

Those two DeSoto cases were linked to people using contaminated water in neti pots for nasal irrigation.

In August, a child visiting from Mississippi reportedly contracted the amoeba while playing on a slip n' slide toy.

Once the amoeba was found in St. Bernard Parish, officials urged residents to chlorinate pools and to take precautions to prevent water from going up the nose during showers and bathing.

Many residents turned to bottled water, prompting state health officials to release a "myth vs. fact" page to tout the local drinking water's safety and dispel any rumors related to the water supply.

The CDC has more information on reducing risk for the brain-eating amoeba.