BATON ROUGE, La.— A potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba has been discovered in a water system that serves more than 12,500 people in southeast Louisiana.
No illnesses or deaths have been attributed to the amoeba.
St. John the Baptist Parish began using chlorine Thursday to flush the water system on the east bank of the Mississippi River. The flushing process will take two months, but officials say the water is safe to drink.
Swimming or diving in freshwater lakes and rivers is the most common way to contract the amoeba, which can cause injury or death if it gets to the brain, usually through nasal passages.
The amoeba is rare. In 2011, a child died after apparently contracting the organism in St. Bernard Parish, a New Orleans suburb.