HOUSTON – Pediatric infectious disease expert Dr. Matt Linam cherishes the success achieved he and his team saw in 2013 against the brain-eating amoeba that is now a concern for Lake Jackson families.
“I will always look back and think that it was a modern-day miracle," Linam said.
The odds were stacked, but they broke a deadly streak that the Naegleria Fowleri amoeba had experienced in the U.S. for decades.
“(It was the) first survivor in about 35 years,” Linam said from his office in Atlanta.
Linam shared insight into his Arkansas case as well as the challenges in fighting the amoeba that killed a 6-year-old Lake Jackson boy last week.
“A warm shallow body of water sentiment is the perfect environment for (the amoeba) to thrive in,” Linam explained.
Officials believe this was the case in Lake Jackson. However, attaining the amoeba is extremely rare according to Linam.
Still, the tragic case has resulted in extra scrutiny an hour north of Lake Jackson in Houston.
“We are checking our levels,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner at City Hall Monday. In response to KPRC 2′s question, Turner revealed the city is routinely examining its water supply.
“Public works on a very systematic basis is checking our water systems to makes sure that balance is maintained on our water is safe," Turner said.
Environmental Attorney Jim Blackburn said that while it is good to examine the water supply, it is important to note that the problems officials in Lake Jackson are dealing with are separate from the water supplies of other communities in the area.
“Each of these treatment systems is by itself. Each of them stand alone. And really each one is responsible for the quality of water they deliver,” said Blackburn Monday night.
If you or your children start showing symptoms like fever, headache or stiff neck, Linam says you should let your doctor know if you or your child has had contact with fresh water. That will help put the deadly amoeba on their radar, he said.