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Texas city declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

Texas authorities have issued a warning amid concerns that the water supply in the southeast of the state may contain the brain-eating amoeba naegleria fowleri following the death of a 6-year-old boy.

Details: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a "do not use" water alert Friday for eight cities, along with the Clemens and Wayne Scott Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections centers and the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport. This was later lifted for all places but one, Lake Jackson, which issued a disaster declaration Saturday.


TCEQ Investigators are on the scene in Lake Jackson to conduct water sampling.

The Brazosport Water Authority has lifted the Do Not Use Water Advisory for all areas except Lake Jackson. #TakeCareOfTexas pic.twitter.com/5pOk0sHGOE

— Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (@TCEQ) September 26, 2020

Driving the news: The 6-year-old died in hospital on Sept. 8. Per a City of Lake Jackson statement, his hospitalization was due to the amoeba, which was linked to two water sources by which he'd been known to have played in late August before becoming ill — the Lake Jackson civic center fountain "splash pad" and a hose at his home.

What they're saying: "The City of Lake Jackson, County of Brazoria, Texas, is facing significant threats to life, health and property due to contaminated drinking water," the city said in an emergency request to Gov. Greg Abbott (R). "The impact of this threat is severe. The potential damages include: sickness and death."

  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality urged Lake Jackson residents in a statement Saturday to "follow the Do not Use Water Advisory until the water system has been adequately flushed and samples indicate that the water is safe to use."
  • Residents are being urged not to drink or use the tap water from the impacted system, but flushing the toilet is OK.

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