(NY POST) – Tens of thousands of Texans were ordered not to use the water after a six-year-old boy died from a rare brain-eating amoeba.
Josiah McIntyre died earlier this month, testing positive for Naegleria fowleri after playing at a public splash pad and a sprinkler at home in Lake Jackson in suburban Houston, officials and his family said.
Initial tests of the water supply came back negative — but another round of tests came back positive Friday from three locations, including a hydrant, the splash pad storage tank and a spigot at the boy’s home.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued an urgent advisory warning people not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets.
It included the boy’s hometown Lake Jackson — a city of more than 27,000 — as well as Freeport, Angleton, Brazoria, Richwood, Oyster Creek, Clute and Rosenberg, as well as for Dow Chemical-Freeport and the Clemens and Wayne Scott state prison units.
Naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater that “can cause a rare and devastating infection of the brain,” according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The dead boy’s mother, Maria Castillo, told ABC13 that she was “angry, upset, sad and heartbroken.”
“He was an active little boy,” she said of her baseball-obsessed son.
“He was a really good big brother. He just loved and cared about a lot of people,” she said, saying that knowing how he contacted it “gives us peace of mind.”