New Orleans, LA, United States (4E) – Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals ordered a 60-day cleaning of St. John the Baptist Parish’s water supply after samples of the water tested positive from deadly brain-eating bacteria.
The parish’s Utilities Department and Water District 1 will infuse free chlorine in the water lines to kill the Naegleria fowleri amoeba starting Thursday, Parish President Natalie Robottom said.
The contamination affects the water system in Reserve, Garyville and Mount Airy, where Water District No. 1, serves a total 12,577 customers.
The St. John public school system ordered water fountains turned off at all schools as a precaution, school system spokeswoman Jennifer Boquet said. Health officials also warned residents not to get water into their nasal passages, where the amoeba can move to the brain and attack it.
The water, however, is safe to drink as the amoeba cannot infect a person through the stomach, said state health officer Jimmy Guidry, according to NOLA.com.
Meanwhile, the contamination will be investigated to find out why chlorine levels in the water dropped below state required levels.