Disaster declaration issued after deadly ameba found in Texas water supply

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County in response to Naeglera Fowleri, a deadly ameba, found in the City of Lake Jackson’s water supply. A Boil Water Notice has been issued for Lake Jackson as authorities continue to flush and disinfect the water system back to normal.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is working alongside the City of Lake Jackson, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Environmental Protection Agency to resolve the ongoing water issue.

“The state of Texas is taking swift action to respond to the situation and support the communities whose water systems have been impacted by this ameba,” said Abbott. “I urge Texans in Lake Jackson to follow the guidance of local officials and take the appropriate precautions to protect their health and safety as we work to restore safe tap water in the community.”

According to The New Your Times, in early September, Brazoria County health officials alerted the City of Lake Jackson, about 56 miles south of Houston, about a six-year-old boy who was hospitalized with the amoeba and later died. The organism is typically found in warm freshwater lakes and rivers, and people are exposed when it enters the body through the nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It travels up the nose to the brain, where it destroys brain tissue. People cannot be infected by drinking water containing the amoeba, according to the C.D.C.

On Friday evening, the Brazosport Water Authority released a “do not use” water advisory for eight Texas cities, under direction from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, The Times reported. By Saturday, the warning was lifted in all cities — except for Lake Jackson — and Mayor Bob Sipple of Lake Jackson issued a disaster declaration.

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