Seems 2020 is not done with its disasters! In a piece of concerning news, a warning has been issued for the residents of Lake Jackson in Texas, the US to stop using tap water after a deadly brain-eating microbe was found in the city’s public water supply.Also Read - Jal Jeevan Mission: Aadhaar Card to be Linked For Tap Water Scheme

Unfortunately, a six-year-old boy Josiah McIntryre reportedly contracted the microbe and died earlier this month, triggering panic. His death prompted authorities to conduct tests on the city’s water system, following which 3 of 11 sample tests indicated preliminary positive results for the brain-eating microbe.

In a statement, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a disaster declaration and warned that the water systems were infested with dangerous naegleria fowleri, sinister amoeba blobs that engulf the human brain.

This microscopic organism is called Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic amoeba, or single-celled living organism commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infection is usually fatal and typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places such as lakes and rivers.

Such incidents have been reported before as well. According to the CDC, the first deaths from Naegleria fowleri found in tap water from treated US public drinking water systems occurred in southern Louisiana in 2011 and 2013.

Signs and symptoms

It infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose and then travels to the brain, causing a rare and debilitating disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis.

Symptoms include fever, headaches, seizures, vomiting, sleepiness, nausea and hallucinations, with people dying within a week of contracting the illness, as per the CDC.

The condition has an alarming 99 per cent fatality rate according to a Medicine Net journal.

What next?

The residents have been warned to not use tap water until the water system has been thoroughly flushed and tests on water samples show the system’s water is again safe to use. It said in a statement that it was unclear how long it would be before the tap water was safe.

Meanwhile, Lake Jackson residents are asked to boil water before consuming it for drinking and cooking. Residents were also told to take other measures, including not allowing water to go up to their noses while showering or bathing.

The city also warned that children, elderly people, and people with weakened immune systems were “particularly vulnerable”.