It’s probably not a good idea to go near or drink the water in New Orleans but that doesn’t mean you have to cancel your travel plans if you were going there for a summer break. The problem is, that just as thousands of tourists are converging on the Big Easy, health officials there have announced the discovery of a deadly amoeba that feeds on brain tissue that could be contracted when swimming in water water. The news was reported on the Internet today, July 26, by sources such as the Inquisitr that said the deadly bacteria was confirmed by health authorities to have been found in the water supply of St. Bernard Parish, a suburb of New Orleans. The last time that this deadly amoeba was found in New Orleans was in 2013. There have been three deaths thus far from the amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri which when it gets inside the body causes the brain to cease functioning properly. When this occurs, patients re diagnosed with an infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis. The brain becomes inflamed and swells which causes increased intracranial pressure that impacts breathing and other life functions.
The CDC is assuring residents and tourists that there is no cause to panic over the drinking water which it claims is safe (but continue to test), but the health organization did issue a list of ways to avoid the fatal amoeba. One of which is to hold your nose or use a clip to shut the nostrils when you dive into water, better yet keep your head out of the water. Another is never to submerge your head in hot springs or untreated thermal waters. And a third precaution is to never stir up sediment in warm freshwater areas. It appears the best way to avoid contracting the amoeba is to just stay out of the water.
As of this writing a dozen Louisiana water systems have been tested and health officials are waiting for their results in order to determine if the amoeba problem is in other areas besides New Orleans. According to webmd, “It doesn’t happen often, but during most summers, several Americans — usually healthy, young people — suffer sudden, tragic deaths from a brain-eating amoeba.” The site goes on to explain that amoebas are single-celled organisms and that the brain-eating species (Naegleria fowleri) was discovered in 1965 in Australia.
So if you’re travel plans this summer do include New Orleans follow the CDC precautions listed above, read the paper, surf the web or watch TV news to get the latest on drinking water safety(buying bottled water is your best bet) and go on and enjoy all that the vibrant, jazz-filled town has to offer.