BATON ROUGE, La. -- A child has died from an illness caused by the brain-eating Naegleria fowleri amoeba. The parish president said the child may have contracted the illness while playing on a slip and slide.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the child contracted encephalitis while vising a home in St. Bernard Parish. The DHH says the water supply at the home tested positive for the amoeba.
The identity of the child, as well as the age, hasn't been released. It's not clear how the child may have contracted the illness. However, St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta said officials believe the child contracted the amoeba from a slip and slide. He said the child is a 4-year-old from Mississippi.
St. Bernard Parish is taking preventative measures to flush its water system "out of an abundance of caution to ensure public safety," according to officials. Initials tests haven't shown evidence of the parasite, and parish officials say the water supply is safe.
"The CDC’s testing detected no evidence of the parasite, however out of abundance of caution; steps were taken immediately to continue to ensure a safe water supply in St. Bernard Parish," said St. Bernard Parish President David Peralta.
The DHH says that residents may smell chlorine or notice a change in color in their water while the parish continues to flush the water supply.
Officials say the Naegleria fowleri amoeba has been associated with three deaths traced to water in the state since 2011.
"Initial symptoms of PAM start one to seven days after infection," a press release from the DHH reads. "The initial symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and stiff neck. Later symptoms include confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance, seizures, and hallucinations. After the start of symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within one to 12 days."
For information on preventative measures, please visit the CDC.