State officials have scheduled a community meeting Tuesday in St. Bernard Parish to discuss concerns about a potentially deadly amoeba that was recently found in the parish’s water system.
Representatives from the state Department of Health and Hospitals are slated to attend the meeting to answer residents’ questions. Parish officials have been invited to attend, as well.
The meeting, which was called by state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Nunez Community College auditorium, 3700 Fenelon St., Chalmette.
“It is important that the citizens in St. Bernard Parish have an opportunity to get the facts about the discovery of this dangerous amoeba in their water system,” Morrell said.
State health officials informed the parish Wednesday that the Naegleria fowleri amoeba turned up last month at a sampling station in Arabi, nearly two years after a young Mississippi boy died from contracting the brain-eating single-celled organism at a home in Violet.
The state had tested the water June 24 as part of a new system put in place after the 2013 incident. In response to the finding, the parish has raised chlorine levels in its water system and will continue to do so for 60 days — a strategy that has worked for eliminating the amoeba previously.
Parish President David Peralta blamed the positive test on broken sampling equipment. DHH spokeswoman Olivia Watkins Hwang said the state is checking whether faulty equipment factored into the test results.
A person can contract the amoeba only if it enters the body through the nose and is pushed into the brain.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.