Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that enters the brain through the nose
A deadly amoeba that can destroy brain tissue has been found in the water supply of several towns in southeast Louisiana.
The Naegleria fowleri amoeba was found in the water system that serves Reserve, Garyville and Mt Airy, CBS News quoted the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) as saying.
In 2011, a child died after apparently absorbing the organism in a suburb of New Orleans.
And in 2013, the bug was linked to the deaths of an unidentified four-year-old boy from Mississippi and 12-year-old Zachary Reyna from Florida.
The water system belonging to the parish of St John the Baptist, which includes the towns, serves more than 12,500 people.
It enters the body by attaching itself to the olfactory nerve, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which runs between the smell detectors in the nose and the brain.
It can only attach itself to the olfactory nerve if it enters the nose. It cannot do so by drinking the water.
It eats the part of the brain responsible for smell first before spreading to the rest of the organ.
It is said to be very rare but if it is not treated, it usually results in death, according to Viroj Wiwanitkit, writing in the Medscape journal.
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Contributed by Contributing Author of Sky News U.S.