Officials find brain-eating amoeba in Louisiana water

It’s never comfortable to get water up your nose. But in Louisiana, scientists have found traces of a rare amoeba in the water supply — and if it finds its way up your nose, it could kill you.

That's because this rare specimen makes its way up to your brain and starts eating. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it starts an infection called amoebic meningoencephalitis. (Via Animal Planet)

The investigation started in Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish after the death of a 4-year-old boy. His family confirms the boy had played on a Slip'N Slide before he contracted the infection. (Via CBS)

A similar case occurred with a young girl just this summer in Arkansas.

"During a swim at this water park in July, she contracted parasitic meningitis. …  Her chance of survival, less than 1 percent. Before Kali, just two patients had been known to survive." (Via CNN)

The amoeba can be destroyed and prevented from coming back in the water as long as it's well-chlorinated. In the Louisiana case, investigators found the water supply didn't contain enough chlorine. (Via The Consumerist)

Although the water is safe to drink, the risk of contracting the infection is greatly increased if it finds its way to the roof of a person's nose. (Via The Times-Picayune)

The CDC recommends people avoid swimming in fresh water when the temperature is high and water levels are low, and hold their noses shut or wear nose clips while swimming.

City officials say they began flushing the parish’s water lines with chlorine last week and will continue until levels reach the recommended point.

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