Brain-eating parasite found in Texas city's water supply

Iain Burns | September 27, 2020 in World News

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Residents of a Texas city have been warned to boil their water before using it after a deadly brain-eating parasite was found in the local supply. 

An investigation was begun after a six-year-old boy in the area died from the parasite.

Officials later confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in Lake Jackson’s water supply. 

The parasite occurs naturally in freshwater but human infections are rare, with fewer than 40 cases in the US over the last decade.

But if it gets up a person’s nose, it is usually fatal. 

The water supply in Lake Jackson, a city of over 27,000 people to the south of Houston, is now being disinfected by officials. 

An earlier warning to not use water under any circumstances affected over 100,000 people in the area.

Though residents of Lake Jackson are now under a boil-water notice, they have been told to practise additional precautions. 

They have been told to prevent water getting up their nose, including by avoiding putting their head under water.

The young and elderly are most vulnerable, officials said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, most people are infected with the parasite when they swim in warm freshwater.

It is not possible to become infected by swallowing the water, the CDC said, and it cannot be passed from one person to another.

A person in Florida became infected with the parasite in July. 

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