Authorities in Lake Jackson, Texas, have called on residents not to use tap water because it is contaminated with a deadly brain-eating microbe.
The local water authority has warned of possible contamination of its supplies to the city – home to about 27,000 people – with amoeba niglerosis.
It usually affects people when contaminated water enters their bodies through the nose. This infection is usually fatal.
Infections with this type of amebiasis are rare in the United States, with only 34 cases recorded between 2009 and 2018.
Eight districts in Texas County were asked Friday evening not to use their water supply for any reason, other than flushing toilets. However, the warning was raised on Saturday for all areas except Lake Jackson.
The Texas Environmental Quality Commission said Lake Jackson residents should continue to avoid using tap water “until the water system has been adequately sanitized and until samples indicate that the water is safe to use.”
The commission added that it was not yet known how long this would take.
The fowel nigleria amoeba is found worldwide. And the US “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” says that the majority of the infections that were recorded in the United States during the past years were due to pollution of fresh water in southern states.
The authority notes that it is not possible to get infected by swallowing contaminated water, and that the infection cannot be transmitted from one person to another.
People with Naegleria fowl suffer from symptoms including fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headache. Most of them die within a week.
And earlier this year, a case of the same infection was recorded in Florida. Health officials urged locals at the time to avoid touching the nose with tap water and other water sources.