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Boil-water notice lifted from Texas city where microbe found

LAKE JACKSON, Texas (AP) — A boil-water notice was lifted Tuesday from the drinking-water system of a Houston-area city where water tainted with a deadly, microscopic parasite was blamed for the death of a 6-year-old boy.

In a statement, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Lake Jackson officials lifted the notice Tuesday after disinfectant levels in the drinking water were documented to be above the state requirements. Also, water samples tested negative for harmful bacteria.

However, the TCEQ urged users of Lake Jackson’s water to avoid getting it up their noses to reduce the risk of infection by the brain-eating microbe naegleria fowleri.

The boil-water notice was issued late last month after several days of flushing of the Brazosport Water Authority’s water delivery system. The flushing was ordered after three of 11 samples of the Lake Jackson’s water tested positive for the deadly flagellate.

One sample came from the home of Josiah McIntyre, the 6-year-old boy whom doctors said died earlier this month after being infected with the brain-eating parasite, city officials said.

The deadly amoeba does not cause an infection if it is in water that a person drinks as it is killed by normal levels of stomach acid. However, people can be infected when water containing the microbe enters the body through the nose

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who issued a disaster declaration for Lake Jackson, has said all indications point to the case being isolated and that the suspected problem in the boy’s death was traced back to a splash pad. The TCEQ said it and the city will conduct daily monitoring for the microbe going forward.

The Brazosport Water Authority initially warned eight communities on Sept. 25 not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets. It lifted that warning the next day for all communities but Lake Jackson, where the authority’s water treatment plant is situated. The advisory also was canceled for two state prisons and Dow Chemical’s massive Freeport works.

The ban was lifted in Lake Jackson on Sept. 27 but replaced with the boil-water notice.

Naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic amoeba, or single-celled living organism commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. From there it travels to the brain and can cause a rare and debilitating disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis.

The infection is usually fatal and typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places such as lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose.

“This is a terrible tragedy that made something that was rare, and even vanishingly rare, actually happen,” said John Hellersedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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Brain-Eating Microbe Found In Texas Town’s Water System Following Boy’s Death

KEY POINTS

  • A 6-year-old boy died in early September from an infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba
  • Three of the 11 samples collected confirmed the presence of the naegleria fowleri microbe in Lake Jackson’s water system
  • Officials warned residents to not drink tap water directly and boil their water before use

The presence of a brain-eating parasite that led to the death of a 6-year-old boy was found in the water system of a Texas town near Houston. Officials said it will take at least 60 days to completely disinfect the water system.

Health officials started collecting water samples to conduct tests after the death of Josiah McIntyre in Lake Jackson, Texas, in early September. Three of the 11 samples collected tested positive for the naegleria fowleri microbe, Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo told Associated Press on Monday.

On Sept. 25, the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) alerted the Brazosport Water Authority (BWA) about the presence of the microbe in its water system, prompting BWA to issue a warning in eight cities including Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, and Rosenberg.

The residents were asked not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets. The advisory was later canceled for the other communities, but not for Lake Jackson, a city of more than 27,000, where the authority’s water treatment plant was located. A day later, the warning was lifted for Lake Jackson residents, but they were still urged to boil the water before using it.

Mundo said the city’s water utility is working to replace any “old water” in its system with freshwater, thereby disinfecting and purging the system of the naegleria fowleri parasite. “We’ll be doing that for a 60-day period,” Mundo told the AP.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater and soil. It is known to infect people when contaminated water enters the body through nose and travels to the brain, causing a fatal disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis. The infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in lakes and rivers, as well as through contaminated tap water.

Bacteria Bacteria, as seen under a microscope. Photo: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Purging water system of brain-eating microbe to take 60 days

Updated


LAKE JACKSON, Texas (AP) — A Houston-area official said it will take 60 days to ensure a city drinking water system is purged of a deadly, microscopic parasite that doctors believed killed a boy and that led to warnings for others not to drink tap water.

Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo said Monday that three of 11 samples of the city’s water indicated preliminary positive results for the naegleria fowleri microbe. Mundo said Lake Jackson residents are still urged to boil their tap water before using it.


One sample, Mundo said, came from the home of Josiah McIntyre, the 6-year-old boy whom doctors said died earlier this month after being infected with the brain-eating parasite.

Maria Castillo, Josiah’s mother, said Monday that her son first started showing flu-like symptoms. But those quickly worsened to the point where he had trouble standing and communicating.



“We found out that it was, most likely this amoeba that was causing all of these symptoms,” Castillo said outside her home, in front of a yard sign that showed a picture of her son.

Doctors took measures to alleviate swelling in the child’s brain and tried to save him.


It was hard for Josiah’s mother to accept the death of a child so full of life.

“Josiah loved to be outside and he loved to be with his sister and his cousin,” Castillo said “He was a lovable little boy and loved everybody he was around.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned the Brazosport Water Authority late Friday of the potential contamination of its water supply by the deadly microscopic flagellate. The TCEQ has advised the community to flush out its water distribution

Texas officials: No earlier concerns after microbe found

Updated


LAKE JACKSON, Texas (AP) — Texas officials said Tuesday that water samples taken earlier this year from a Houston-area community did not raise concerns before the detection of a deadly, microscopic parasite, which doctors believe killed a 6-year-old boy.

Residents of Lake Jackson are likely to remain under orders to boil water for several weeks as the city continues purging the water supply. Lake Jackson officials said this week that three of 11 samples of the city’s water indicated preliminary positive results for the naegleria fowleri microbe.


One sample, Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo has said, came from the home of Josiah McIntyre, the 6-year-old boy whom doctors said died earlier this month after being infected with the brain-eating parasite.



Republican Gov. Greg Abbott visited Lake Jackson on Tuesday along with the state environmental regulators, who said samples through at least June raised no flags. Abbott said all indications point to the case being isolated and that the suspected problem in the boy’s death was traced back to a splashpad.

“The