EBARB, LA (KSLA) - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has confirmed the presence of Naegleria Fowleri amoeba in a Sabine Parish water system.
According to the DHH, the amoeba was found in the Aimwell area of Ebarb Water District 1, which serves 5,529 people.
There are no known cases of illness related to the ameoba in Sabine Parish or elsewhere in the state currently, according to the DHH.
According to a detailed DHH statement released late Friday afternoon, the water system was sampled as part of DHH's surveillance program that launched earlier in Aug. 2014.
"During the amoeba testing, DHH discovered the system was not in compliance with the State's emergency rule, which requires water systems to maintain a minimum disinfectant residual level of 0.5 milligrams per liter throughout all of their distribution lines. This 0.5 mg/L level is known to control the Naegleria fowleri amoeba."
Of the six for which results were completed, the DHH says none had the required level of chlorine residuals. For the two water system sampled this week, both had chlorine residuals above the required 0.5 mg/l. Next week, the fourth round of samples will be collected.
Test results for the third week will be available the week of Sept. 22. The test results for the fourth round of samples will likely not be available until the end of the month.
DHH has issued an emergency order requiring Ebarb Water District 1 Aimwell Area to perform a free-chlorine burn (maintain 1.0 mg/l of free chlorine throughout the system for 60 days) to kill the amebae within the water system. The water will remain safe to drink during this time. At the end of 60 days, DHH will sample the system again for presence of the ameba. In previous cases in Louisiana, this action has been effective in controlling the ameba. The emergency order also requires the system to achieve and maintain compliance with the state's minimum chlorine residual of 0.5 mg/l throughout their system.
Ebarb Water District 1 Aimwell Area is the fourth water system in Louisiana to test positive for the ameba.
Last year, testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the presence of the ameba in the St. Bernard Parish Water System and DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1.
The St. John the Baptist Water System also tested positive for the presence of the ameba late last month. It is currently undergoing the 60-day chlorine burn. No known additional infections have occurred in DeSoto, St. Bernard or St. John the Baptist parishes, as incidences of infection are extremely rare.
Testing in May on DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1 and St. Bernard Parish Water System did not detect the ameba.
Click here for the full DHH statement.