Flagellate form of the parasite Naegleria fowleri

Brain-eating amoeba infection, naegleriasis.

LAKE JACKSON — Lake Jackson residents are still urged to not use tap water, even to bathe, but the do-not-use water advisory is lifted for all other cities and agencies Brazosport Water Authority supplies.

Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, Rosenberg, Dow Chemical, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Clemens and Wayne Scott units no longer are under the agency's order, a news release from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Clute officials, however, recommends that city's residents to continue following restrictions subsequent to testing of its system.

There is no safety issue for BWA’s distribution system, the TCEQ statement said.

“Lake Jackson residents are still urged to follow the do-not-use water advisory until the water system has been adequately flushed and samples indicate that the water is safe to use,” the statement said. “It is not known at this time how long this might take.”

Three out of 11 samples of Lake Jacksons water showed initial genetic material for naegleria fowleri, a rare brain-eating amoeba, including one from a hose at the home of a boy who died this month, Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo said.

“The civic center fountain, there is a small pit underneath the fountain, the water there showed an initial genetic material of the amoeba,” Mundo said at an emergency council meeting Saturday morning. “The fire hydrant showed an initial genetic material there and also the hose bib at the family’s home.”

Josiah McIntyre, a 6-year-old from Lake Jackson, died Sept. 8 after first developing a headache Sept. 3, his family said. His family indicated that he played in the civic center splash pad fountain in late August and might have played with the hose at his home, Mundo said.

The amoeba cannot be contracted by swallowing water and would have to be inhaled deeply through the nose, he said.

“This is a very difficult amoeba to get into your system,” Mundo said.

State and federal regulations have established treatment requirements for public water systems that prevent waterborne pathogens such as amoebae from contaminating drinking water, according to the TCEQ statement. Naegleria fowleri is a type of amoeba that can be managed using standard treatment and disinfection processes, the statement said.

Fire hydrants typically have more stagnant water, which is more prone to impurities than regularly running water. The splash pad had been out of operation since Sept. 8, meaning it was also more stagnant than the rest of the city’s water system.

Maddy McCarty is assistant managing editor for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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