News

Water tests stepped up after boy dies from infection

Water tests stepped up after boy dies from infection

Photo: clipart.com

By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Some Louisiana towns intensified testing of water supplies on Monday after a 4-year-old boy died from a rare brain-eating amoeba that authorities suspect he contracted while playing on a Slip-N-Slide toy in the backyard of a home.

“We are testing and retesting our water to make sure it has the proper amount of chlorine to prevent contamination,” said David Peralta, president of St. Bernard Parish, where the boy was visiting when he is believed to have become infected.

Local schools also remain on guard.

“Just to be cautious, we turned off the water fountains at the elementary and middle schools,” said Doris Voitier, superintendent of St. Bernard Public Schools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in August that the amoeba Naegleria fowleri caused the early August death of the boy, a Mississippi resident who became mysteriously ill and died while visiting friends in St. Bernard Parish, which is southeast of New Orleans.

Tissue tests by the CDC later revealed the boy died from a form of encephalitis after the amoeba entered his body through his nose and attacked his brain.

Louisiana’s Office of Public Health investigated circumstances leading to the boy’s death and concluded that he may have become infected while playing on a Slip ‘N Slide water toy in the backyard of the home he was visiting.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals on Friday confirmed the presence of the amoeba in four locations of the water system in St. Bernard Parish.

State epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard said Naegleria fowleri infections are rare, though the amoeba itself is not. Studies have shown that the amoeba exists “in very low numbers” in about 40 percent of water supplies in the developed world, he said.

He said the amoeba likely multiplied in the St. Bernard water system because the chlorine level in some locations fell below the 0.5 milligrams per liter standard by the CDC. Ratard said humans are infected through the nose and not from drinking.

From 2001 to 2010, 32 Naegleria fowleri infections were reported in the United States. Of those cases, 30 people were infected by contaminated recreational water and two by water from a geothermal drinking water supply, according to the CDC.

Peralta said that St. Bernard Parish is continuing to flush its water system and add chlorine to ensure that the water is safe for drinking and bathing.

While communities that lie near St. Bernard Parish have their own, separate water supplies, some are seeking assurances that their water is safe.

Recent Headlines

in National, Sports

Lloyd hits stunning hat-trick as U.S. tops Japan for third Women’s World Cup title

Fresh
carliworldcup

With the victory, the Americans avenged their loss to Japan in the 2011 final and earned a record third title and their first since 1999.

in Sports

World Cup: U.S. goes for the big prize

nikeworldcup

The Women's World Cup final today in Vancouver features a rematch of the final four years ago, the U.S. against Japan

in Sports

Women’s World Cup: England beats Germany to finish 3rd

The England women's national team celebrating after beating Germany 1-0 in the 2015 Women's World Cup to earn 3rd place

England's victory over the top-ranked Germans came after a gut-wrenching 2-1 semifinal loss to Japan that was decided on an own goal on Wednesday.

in Sports

Wimbledon: Defending champ Kvitova upset, Federer advances

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic makes a return to Kurumi Nara of Japan during their singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Thursday July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Madison Keys and Caroline Wozniacki also posted victories on the women's side.

in Sports

Dempsey, Chandler score as US beats Guatemala 4-0

clint dempsey concacaf twitter

Clint Dempsey converted a penalty kick in his return from a suspension for a confrontation with a referee, Timmy Chandler scored his first international goal and the United States routed Guatemala

Bellingham Traffic