Emergency declared after boy dies from a brain-eating amoeba in the water supply

An emergency has been declared after a six-year-old boy died from a brain-eating amoeba found in a city's water supply.

Josiah McIntyre died on September 8 after playing in the water contaminated with Naegleria fowleri in Lake Jackson, Texas.

The infection is usually fatal if it enters the nose and normally occurs when swimming in warm freshwater like lakes and rivers.

The city's water system for 27,000 people remains shut as officials race to switch over to well water supplies.

It comes a month after Tanner Lake Wall, 13, died following a family vacation to a North Florida campground equipped with a water park and lake.

In July, the Florida Department of Health announced that another case was reported in Hillsborough County.

Lake Jackson manager Modesto Mundo said: "The notification to us at that time was that he (Josiah) has played at one of play fountains and he may have also played with a water hose at the home."

Tests on Friday confirmed the amoeba was present in three sites in the city which is 50 miles south of the state capital Houston.

They included water samples from the Lake Jackson Civic Center Splash Pad, the family's home hose bib and a dead end fire hydrant close to the splash pad in downtown.

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The single-celled organism is harmless if swallowed but is 90-95 per cent fatal if it reaches the brain via the nose.

There it causes a devastating infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis which gives the amoeba its name.

Most die within a week after suffering fever, nausea and vomiting, as well as a stiff neck and headaches.

But infections are rare in the United States, with 34 deaths recorded between 2009-18.

Mr Mundo added: "We're surprised just as everybody that the tests came back for the system.

"But now that it's been detected in three separate spots that's where the questions come up: is it in the system?"

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