Brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – The state Department of Health and Hospitals says tests from federal health officials have confirmed the presence of a rare brain-eating amoeba in four sites in the St. Bernard Parish water system.

Health officials stressed that there is a low risk of contracting any disease since people cannot be infected just by drinking the contaminated water. The amoeba can affect a person only if it gets into his or her nose.

Public-health officials earlier this month confirmed that a 4-year-old Mississippi boy who was visiting St. Bernard died in August after he contracted encephalitis from the amoeba.

J.T. Lane, the state's assistant secretary for public health, says St. Bernard began to flush its water lines with more chlorine last week in an attempt to minimize the threat of the bacteria.

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