There might be something in the water in Texas.
A recent advisory to residents of suburban Houston warned that city tap water could be tainted with a brain-eating microbe.
On Friday, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality alerted all residents within the Brazosport Water Authority. That district includes several Houston metro area towns that are home to over 27,000 people. The advisory told residents not to use tap water for any purpose other than flushing the toilet for the time being.
The culprit causing this chaos is a free-living, microscopic amoeba called naegleria fowleri. The single-celled organism usually lives in warm freshwater and soil, but has somehow migrated into the Houston area tap.
The amoeba sounds like something from a sci-fi thriller. When water containing the organism enters the human body through the nose, it can travel up to the brain. There, it causes “primary amebic meningoencephalitis,” a condition which is typically deadly.
Still, the evil little microbe isn’t invincible. The Water Authority says it can manage the amoeba though standard treatment and disinfection processes. In the meantime, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it will keep residents updated through Twitter and Facebook.
“It’s difficult, because it’s like every day we’re dealing with some new health hazard,” says area resident Lynn Pulman. “But I’d rather go without showering than have my brains eaten.”
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality @TCEQ: 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.
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