In the days following the death of a young boy in the City of Lake Jackson due to Naegleria fowleri (N. fowleri also known as the “brain eating amoeba”) found in the city’s water system, the City of Dayton is sharing the following information with citizens in an effort to provide accurate information and calm any unnecessary fears about the city water supply.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as the “brain-eating amoeba” or “brain-eating ameba”), is a free-living microscopic amoeba, (a single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The ameba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose.
Once the ameba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose. You cannot get infected from swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria.
The CDC suggests that the following measures may reduce your risk of naegleria infection: Don’t swim in or jump into warm freshwater lakes and rivers. Hold your nose shut or use nose clips when jumping or diving into warm bodies of freshwater. Avoid disturbing the sediment while swimming in shallow, warm fresh waters.
“The City of Dayton water distribution is a closed system that produces water only from groundwater wells. The City’s groundwater wells pull the water supply directly from an underground aquifer that is close to 1,000 feet in-depth and does not receive water from any other outside source. All water is disinfected prior to being put in the water system. City staff inspect the wells daily for proper operations and disinfection. City employees pull monthly routine water samples that are sent to a TCEQ approved lab for analysis,” said Deputy City Manager and Police Chief Rob Vine in an emailed statement.
The City encourages people to be mindful of this information when traveling to other areas where the source of water is something other than a groundwater well and take any necessary precautions.
“Our water source is not in danger, nor should our citizens have any concerns or take any extra steps prior to consuming the city water,” Vine said.