TEXAS – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pledged to offer assistance in any way he can after microscopic parasite was found in Houston-area drinking water, a microbe which could take 60 days to purge from the system.
Abbott, with other state and local officials, spoke from Lake Jackson, where the naegleria fowleri microbe was found.
Officials have determined the amoeba was only found in Lake Jackson water, but the process to fix it will take 60 days.
Officials will increase the amount of chlorine in the water system to kill all remnants of the virus. Crews will also thoroughly inspect the water system to see if unfiltered water is making its way into the water system.
On Monday, Lake Jackson City Manager Modesto Mundo urged residents to continue boiling their tap water, as three of 11 samples of the water supply showed preliminary positive results of the parasite.
Investigators found the brain-eating amoeba after Josiah McIntyre, a 6-year-old boy, became infected and died earlier this month.
He began showing flu-like symptoms, his mother Maria Castillo said, but soon after had trouble communicating and standing.
“We found out that it was, most likely this amoeba that was causing all of these symptoms,” Castillo told the Associated Press.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned the Brazosport Water Authority late Friday of the potential contamination. The authority told eight communities to not use the water for consumption.
The advisory was eventually lifted, but the TCEQ is asking Lake Jackson residents to boil tap water before using it.
Abbott issued a disaster declaration on Sunday for Brazoria County, saying “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 amoeba.”
Naegleria fowleri, a free-living microscopic amoeba, is commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It enters the body through the nose, where it then travels to the brain.