Brain-Eating Amoeba Now Found in Louisiana Drinking WaterS

The drinking water of a Louisiana parish has been found to contain a brain-eating amoeba that can be fatal if it goes up your nose.

Last month, a four-year-old boy in Louisiana died after playing on a slip-n-slide in St. Bernard Parish. The amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, was also connected to the death of a Florida boy this summer.

Officials are telling residents that the water is safe to drink, but you must make sure not to let it up your nose. They have told residents that it will be weeks before the danger has passed, as low levels of chlorine in the system have let the bacteria thrive. Chlorine kills the amoeba, Assistant Louisiana Health Secretary J.T. Lane told residents.

The organism travels up your nose and multiplies, eating your brain and slowly killing you. Early symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck, according to the CDC. Then the illness gets serious — later symptoms include confusion, seizures, hallucination, and eventual death within one to twelve days.

The fatality rate is almost 99 percent, however, Kali Hardig, a 12-year-old Arkansas girl, survived infection after she contracted the amoeba at a local water park. She was given an experimental drug that saved her life, only after her mother noticed early on that her daughter didn't have just the common cold.

[image via Shutterstock]