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A Brain-Eating Amoeba Found In Waters Is Killing Children In Texas

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A brain-eating amoeba has killed a 6-year-old boy in Texas, prompting officials issue warnings about water supply utilization in 8 cities. This incident occurred on Sept. 8 when authorities in Lake Jackson, Texas, were notified of Josiah McIntyre's hospitalization and death. McIntyre was infected by a brain-eating amoeba, scientifically known as Naegleria fowleri when he was using a water hose at his house, as well as when he had interacted a splash pad at the civic center in Lake Jackson. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has subsequently set out a water advisory to residents of eight cities that are served by the Brazosport Water Authority. The Commission is now investigating water sources that it believes may be contaminated with the amoeba. It is also taking control measures to regulate the quality of the water supply.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the brain-eating amoeba is commonly found in soil, warm lakes, rivers, and hot springs. It can also be found in poorly maintained or unchlorinated pools and in warm water discharge from industrial plants. Naegleria fowleri infections are infrequent but mostly fatal, the CDC said. The agency recorded 145 cases between 1962 and 2018, and only four of those people survived.

The Do Not Use Water Advisory was issued for residents of Lake Jackson, Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, and Rosenberg, Texas, as well as for the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport and the Clemens and Wayne Scott Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections facilities. Most recently, TCEQ has cleared all but one location.