Rare amoeba in St. Bernard water system prompts action - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Rare amoeba in St. Bernard water system prompts action

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Water treatment plant in Chalmette, La. Water treatment plant in Chalmette, La.

St. Bernard Parish, La. - Parish President Dave Peralta say he was a little shocked when test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a rare brain-eating amoeba in the parish's water system.

"If there is even the slightest risk, I have to treat it and I have to treat the entire system," says Peralta.

For two weeks now, the parish has been flushing its system with extra chlorine to kill any potential parasites.

The flushing started after a 4-year-old child, visiting a Violet home back in July, was infected by the amoeba and later died from encephalitis.

Immediately after the child's death, testing began. The parish tested 32 different sites looking specifically at the levels of chlorine, which kills the amoeba. The CDC also began testing, but the CDC was looking specifically for the amoeba.

"Not all of the sites that the CDC tested came back positive. It was just four sites, two at fire hydrants and two water bibs at individual homes," says Peralta.

The contaminated water was found in Violet and Arabi, rattling the nerves of some residents.

Out of an abundance of caution, School Superintendent Doris Voitier decided to take action.

"At our elementary and middle schools, we've disabled all of our water fountains both inside and outside. While we know the water is safe to drink and not a problem, we had some concern that a young child might drink from the water fountain and the water would go up his nose," says Voitier

Voitier also closed the pool at Chalmette High School. She says it will reopen after further testing is complete.

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