Yet Another Reason to Choose Sterile Water
Some of you may recall the increasingly dire warnings I recently issued about using fully sterilized water when a Neti pot is called for. In my most recent post, I describe a nasty amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri, whose effects can include brain damage and, eventually, death. At the time, it was thought that N. fowleri had confined itself to the swaps and muddy waters around the parishes of Louisiana.
Recent cases have escalated the level of alarm in the area. The first N. fowleri fatality, a 4-year-old Mississippi boy, has now occurred as a result of infection from a treated water supply:
…[T]esting confirmed last week that the microscopic organism came from the St. Bernard Parish water system that fed the slide. The discovery marks the first time the amoeba has entered a treated water supply in the U.S., said Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
N. fowleri enters the brain through the sinuses, which is just one of the reasons ENTs and sinus specialists are tracking its infection rate in the area. The good news is that sterilizing water remains as simple as ever: simply boil it. Keep your pools adequately chlorinated. And always check public health notices before diving into any unknown water source.