When the authorities performed additional testing on St. Bernard Parish’s water system, the follow-up samples test positive for brain eating amoeba, thus corroborating initial results and confirming that the parasite was present in the entire water system and that it was indeed not an outside contamination.
The water system in St. Bernard Parish has been revealed to be contaminated with Naegleria fowleri and the Department of Health and Hospitals has decided to impose an immediate chlorination period of 60 days, that should eliminate the amoeba from the water line.
When the DHH decided to test the water again in order to assess the level of efficacy of the chlorination, it seems that the St. Bernard Parish authorities misunderstood the protocol and they stopped the chlorination during testing, instead of stopping the draining of the system with hydrants.
“We asked the parish to stop aggressively hydrant-flushing the water system while we collected samples, not shut off the chlorine. (…)We wanted our tests to be representative of the water during standard operating conditions, which don’t involve (hydrant) flushing.” explained a DHH official.
Regardless of this mishap, the tests came back positive for Naegleria, which means that the chlorination protocol will have to be carried out for the rest of the 60-day period. DHH officials have announced that they will perform the next tests at the end of the procedure, so as to verify if further actions need to be carried out in order to remove the parasite completely.
Thankfully, the presence of the parasite has been identified early on this time and nobody got contaminated. A series of preventative measures and safety guidelines have been released to the public, so that everybody knows how to keep safe from the brain eating amoeba. Hopefully, the chlorine burn will eliminate it from St. Bernard’s waterline.
However, even if all goes according to plan and the parasite is eliminated, regular tests will be performed on the water system, so as to ensure its safety. Prevention has been greatly enhanced after a four year old boy died of Naegleriasis two years ago.
It remains to be seen what the tests will reveal at the end of the chlorination period, but hopefully this Naegleria episode will come to an end, without claiming any victims.
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