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September 21, 2013

Brain-eating amoeba rattles nerves in La. parish

(Continued)

NEW ORLEANS —

Meanwhile, the population fell from 67,000 before Katrina to 35,000 afterward and is now about 44,000, Causey said. With fewer people, water moved more slowly through the pipes. A couple of years ago, he said, the parish installed 50 automatic flushing stations to dump water out of the mains periodically, and keep it moving.

Louisiana's cases are unusual. Nearly all of the cases reported nationwide each year are from swimming or playing in warm fresh water — the source of this year's three other infections, in Florida, Texas and Arkansas, Yoder said.

Twelve-year-old Kali (KAY-lee) Hardig, whose parents released her name and who spoke at a news conference when she was released from a Little Rock hospital Sept. 11, is only the second known, well-documented survivor in the U.S., said Yoder.

Doctors were able to use a drug that is used against another parasite and kills Naegleria in lab tests, Yoder said.

Kali's doctors "caught it early, they treated it aggressively. ... She did survive. We're very encouraged by that development," he said.

And some people who had been avoiding the parish water apparently are drinking it again.

At B & G Fresh Market in Chalmette, owner Brian Gab said he was probably ordering four or five times as much water as usual last week. Now, "I would say it's probably triple."

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