Traces of a brain-eating amoeba have been found in the public water system of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals tested seven water sites and found positive results of the Naegleri fowleri amoeba in two sites.
One of the positive tests came from a water treatment plant before the water was treated, while the second result may be the result of a leak at a facility and subsequent contamination by ground water.
“Someone hit it," St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta told WDSU. "They probably hit it with a car or tractor or lawn mower, never reported it. It pocketed some water, so when they took the sample some of the standing water infiltrated our line and that's what gave us a positive indication."
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The Daily Mail reports that local officials claim the water is safe to drink, but caution residents to avoid getting water in their noses during baths or swimming as that is how the amoeba gets into the brain.
The amoeba has a 97 percent fatality rate and can cause symptoms including nausea, headaches, vomiting and fever, which can advance to losing balance, confusion, hallucinations, neck stiffness and seizures; death can happen in just a week.