On Friday evening, the Brazosport Water Authority released an official statement advising residents in 11 cities with a do-not-use notice of any tap water.
As the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) warned of possible contact with naegleria fowleri; a fatal ‘brain-eating’ infection that causes a rare disease known as Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM), a disaster declaration was issued for Brazoria County.
Following the knowledge of Josiah McIntyre, a 6-year-old boy from Lake Jackson who died earlier this month from the amoeba, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the declaration to advance cleaning efforts of the city’s water supply and take precautionary measures.
“The state of Texas is taking swift action to respond to the situation and support the communities whose water systems have been impacted by this ameba,” said Governor Abbott. “I urge Texans in Lake Jackson to follow the guidance of local officials and take the appropriate precautions to protect their health and safety as we work to restore safe tap water in the community.”
With the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several tests have been made to resolve the water’s contamination. They found that 3 out of 11 tests came back positive from a variety of water sources.
According to the CDC people “cannot get infected from swallowing contaminated water with naegleria,” but rather “once the ameba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers.”
The deadly microbe gets its name from behavior that follows once it comes in contact with the body. A study from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health showed, that once the infection migrates from the central nervous system to the olfactory nerve, it then goes into the “olfactory bulbs of the forebrain and multiplies by feeding on nerve tissue.”
City authorities have been commissioned to ‘flush and disinfect’ the water supply until it stabilizes.