A Texas city will purge its water supply for 60 days following the death of a 6-year-old boy who contracted a brain-eating amoeba.
Earlier this month, Josiah McIntyre of Lake Jackson, a town about 55 miles south of Houston near the Gulf of Mexico, died after contracting naegleria fowleri, a "a rare and often fatal brain eating amoeba” that enters through the nose when a person is exposed to warm freshwater, usually while swimming in lakes or rivers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced the exposure to a water play area in Lake Jackson as well as a hose bib at the family’s home.
While CDC officials have cautioned that the amoeba cannot be contracted through drinking water, the city will still purge the “old water” from its water supply in order to disinfect and replace it with fresh water, city manager Modesto Mundo announced.
Residents of the 26,000 community have still been advised to boil tap water before using it for drinking or cooking and to avoid getting any up their nose.
Maria Castillo, Josiah’s mother, said the boy had flu-like symptoms before his condition worsened rapidly. After being admitted at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, doctors were unable to reduce the swelling on his brain and the boy died on Sept. 8.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to help the communities whose water supplies are affected.
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