A warning has been issued on Friday for the residents of Lake Jackson, Texas regarding their use of tap water. This comes after a deadly brain-eating microbe has been confirmed to be present in the city's public water supply.
The warning was sent out to eight Texas communities, strongly stressing not to use water from the tap for any reason other than to flush toilets. As of Saturday, the warning was lifted except for Lake Jackson which has a resident population of 27,000.
Lake Jackson officials said they are in the process of disinfecting the water supply. However, it is still unclear how long the process will take. They said they are flushing the water system, and would carry out further tests to ensure the water is already safe to use.
Authorities later disclosed that residents can start using tap water but must properly boil it before drinking. They were also told to refrain from activities that will allow any amount of water to go up their noses, such as showering or bathing or water-related play and activities.
Children as well as elderly people and those with weakened immune systems are urged to take necessary precautions as they are deemed particularly vulnerable to infection.
The city's water supply came under investigation after a six-year-old boy tested positive for the microbe and had died earlier this month, BBC reported.
Although infections of the amoeba Naegleria fowleri are rare in the United States, there have been 34 reported cases between the period of 2009 and 2018. The said amoeba causes an infection of the brain which usually ends up fatal for infected patients.
Naegleria fowleri is naturally found in freshwater and has a global presence. Infections usually occur in people when contaminated water enters the body through the nostrils and then travels to the brain.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says individuals who have been swimming in bodies of warm fresh water such as lakes and ponds are more prone to infection but infections are not transmissible via person to person contact.
Symptoms of the amoeba infection include fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headaches. Patients mostly die within a week.