Texas officials have warned residents of some communities near Houston to stop using tap water because it may be tainted with a brain-eating microbe.
A test conducted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality found that the city's water contained Naegleria fowleri - a microscopic amoeba that can cause a deadly infection in the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
Residents of Lake Jackson and its surrounding towns - Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute, and Rosenberg - were warned on Friday not to use tap water for anything other than flushing toilets until the central water supply was completely disinfected, AP reported.
A hydrant, the splash pad storage tank and a spigot at the boy's home tested positive for the microbe, according to the city of Lake Jackson.
"The City of Lake Jackson, County of Brazoria, Texas, is facing significant threats to life, health and property due to contaminated drinking water", he wrote.
However, that order was lifted on Saturday for all places except Lake Jackson.
On Sept. 8, a six-year-old boy was hospitalized with the amoeba, which is how state health officials became aware of the problem.
Officials believe the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, either entered his body at a splash pad in the city, or from a hose in the family home. Residents have since been receiving a free case of water from the city in the interim.
"After extensive conversations with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as well as ensuring that Brazosport Water Authority has an adequate disinfectant residual, a determination has been made that there is no safety issue for BWA's distribution system", according to a statement from TCEQ on Saturday.
City authorities said the the splash pad was immediately closed and they hired a private lab to run a test on a five-gallon water sample from the fountain.
The disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death about five days after symptoms begin, although this can range between one and 18 days. "You can not get infected from swallowing water contaminated with Naegleria". The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the majority of infections in the USA have been caused by contaminated freshwater in southern states.
Naegleria fowleri is found around the world.
Infections are rare in the United States, with 34 reported between 2009 and 2018.
The microbe contaminated water supplies in the U.S. state of Florida earlier this year. In very rare instances, naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose.