District 3 State Senator J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) is hosting a community meeting in St. Bernard Parish to discuss the latest incident of the “brain-eating” amoeba found in the public water system. Representatives from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) will be there to provide information and answer citizens’ questions. Parish officials have also been invited to attend.
“It is important the citizens in St. Bernard Parish have an opportunity to get the facts about the discovery of this dangerous amoeba in their water system,” Sen. Morrell said. “This community meeting is designed to give them that opportunity and to learn first-hand how the state is moving forward to address the situation.”
DHH announced earlier this week that a test conducted on the water system in late June showed the presence of the rare brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria Fowleri. It takes several weeks to process a water sample. In 2013, the state also discovered the bacteria in the water supply after a four year-old child died from an infection associated with the amoeba. Since that time at the urging of Sen. Morrell, the legislature enacted a new state law that requires DHH to set a minimum disinfectant level of free or total chlorine in public water systems. The state has also increased it testing of water systems during the hot summer months when the bacteria thrive.
“I am hopeful the new standards and testing system we now have in place are providing health officials the tools they need to catch problems early and better protect the public,” Sen. Morrell said.
Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba found in warm bodies of fresh water, in soil and in unchlorinated or poorly chlorinated water. The state is planning to retest the water system to verify the original test.