Deadly Amoeba In Texas Water Supply Raises Concerns


Texas A&M AgriLife experts say the quality of the state's overall water supply is good, and its programs are helping statewide.

The recent discovery of a brain-eating amoeba in the water supply of Lake Jackson, Texas, the subsequent issuance of a boil order for that town, and a declaration of disaster for Brazoria County by Gov. Greg Abbott has raised concerns about the state’s water quality.

Texas A&M AgriLife experts say that while dangerous substances and organisms can occur in the environment, the overall quality of the state’s water supply is good, and that drinking water treatment plants in the U.S. routinely produce some of the safest drinking water in the world. However, these systems are not perfect, and contaminants sometimes make it into the water distribution system.

“The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is a natural part of many freshwater ecosystems,” said Terry Gentry Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor of soil and aquatic microbiology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “There are generally a handful of human infections from the amoeba each year in the U.S., and sadly these are nearly always fatal.”

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