Streamline - Fall 2017 - 15

Lessons from Louisiana
BY DONNA LAWSON, TRAINING SPECIALIST

shock of Flint, Michigan has begun to subside, another blow to the confidence
of the safety of the public water supply has occurred. It seems everyone has heard the news of brain
eating amoeba that killed three people in southern Louisiana from public water utilities. A recent
near-tragedy struck a 16-year-old swimming in Florida, but a quick diagnosis and an anti-parasitic
medicine saved his life. Tragic deaths and water supply are two things people never want to be associated together. In fact, modern day filtration and disinfection of a potable water supply has saved
and improved millions of lives in the United States and throughout the world. How could such a terrible thing happen and how do utilities and water providers prevent it from happening in the future?

JUST WHEN THE

With
increasing
average
temperatures,
the danger
of N. fowleri
spreading
and becoming
more common
is a certainty.

Naegleria Fowleri is a single-celled organism that thrives in warm water in places such
as lakes and rivers. N. fowleri is also found in
hot water springs and in unchlorinated waters in
pools and ponds. The amoeba was first identified
in Australia in the 1960s and found in the United
States with a documented case in 2007. According
to Wikipedia, N. fowleri occurs in three forms - as
a cyst, a trophozoite which is an ameboid, and a
biflagellate that has two flagella. It does not form
a cyst in human tissue, where only the amoeboid
trophozoite stage exists. The flagellate form can
exist in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Though the likelihood of contagion is very
rare, with only 40 people infected since 2007
in the United States, fatality rates are extremely
high, above 95 percent. The infection caused
by N. fowleri is called primary amebic menigoencephalitis, PAM for short, and is most often
misdiagnosed as bacterial meningitis. The initial
systems - headache, fever and nausea - are the
same. The disease progresses quickly and further symptoms are stiff neck, hallucinations and

seizures. Death occurs within seven to 10 days
of initial contact.
According to the Center for Disease Control,
the majority of cases in the U.S. have involved
people swimming or diving in warm freshwater lakes and rivers. For infection to occur, the
amoeba must enter the nose and travel up the
nasal cavity to enter the brain. Infection cannot
occur through drinking contaminated water since
stomach acid destroys the organism. The latest
fatalities that occurred in Louisiana involved a
slip-and-slide and use of a neti pot.
The two systems in Louisiana that tested positive for N. fowleri were found to have no chlorine residual in many parts of the system. The
Louisiana Health Department and CDC recommended a free chlorine residual of .5 mg/L in
all parts of the system for at least 60 days. The
systems had to switch from chloramines to chlorine to achieve the needed residual in addition to
an aggressive flushing program. Not only does
N. fowleri love warm temperatures, it also thrives
in the bioslime found in the distribution system.
Louisiana is not the only state that has had
outbreaks of the deadly organism. Texas and
Florida have had over 10 documented cases each
and contamination was found as far north as
Minnesota. Virginia has had over five cases
of infection. Most of the states that have found
N. fowleri are along the southern borders. With
increasing average temperatures, the danger of
N. fowleri spreading and becoming more common is a certainty.
Potable water is at its best prior to leaving the
treatment plant or well. The health and care of
the distribution system is paramount to delivering
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15


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Fall 2017

From the President: Accomplishment
From the Executive Director: Time Flies…
VRWA Said “Goodbye” to Board Member and Friend Roy Markham
Basic Management Skills
Lessons from Louisiana
Planning for the Future
The 2017 Virginia Water Resources Progress Report
The Benefits of Pipe Marking for Water and Wastewater Facilities
Water and Environmental Programs
Recipe for Sustainably Managing Utilities
When and How to Use Piping Restraints
NRWA Recap
Throwing My Loop: Cowboy Up…
VRWA Member Corner
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Intro
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover1
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover2
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 3
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 4
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 5
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 6
Streamline - Fall 2017 - From the President: Accomplishment
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 8
Streamline - Fall 2017 - From the Executive Director: Time Flies…
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 10
Streamline - Fall 2017 - VRWA Said “Goodbye” to Board Member and Friend Roy Markham
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 12
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Basic Management Skills
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 14
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Lessons from Louisiana
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 16
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 17
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 18
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Planning for the Future
Streamline - Fall 2017 - The 2017 Virginia Water Resources Progress Report
Streamline - Fall 2017 - The Benefits of Pipe Marking for Water and Wastewater Facilities
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 22
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 23
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Water and Environmental Programs
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Recipe for Sustainably Managing Utilities
Streamline - Fall 2017 - When and How to Use Piping Restraints
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 27
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 28
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 29
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 30
Streamline - Fall 2017 - NRWA Recap
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 32
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Throwing My Loop: Cowboy Up…
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 34
Streamline - Fall 2017 - VRWA Member Corner
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 36
Streamline - Fall 2017 - eLearning Benefits
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Membership Application
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Benefits for VRWA Members
Streamline - Fall 2017 - 40
Streamline - Fall 2017 - VRWA Committees
Streamline - Fall 2017 - Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover3
Streamline - Fall 2017 - cover4
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