Boy dies from deadly brain-eating amoeba
A six-year-old boy's death from a rare brain-eating amoeba sparked an urgent water warning in eight communities in the US state of Texas.
Josiah McIntyre died earlier this month, testing positive for Naegleria fowlers after playing at a public splash pad and a sprinkler at home 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.
While working to disinfect the whole system, officials lifted the "do not use water" advisory - saying it would be safe if boiled, and listing a series of safety protocols for showering or swimming.
Naegleria fowlers 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 US 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."
Ms Castillo suspected a viral infection, and decided to take her son to the Texas Children's Hospital where he was admitted to ICU.
She said that her son was tested for the flu, strep throat and COVID-19.
"They were treating him for meningitis, for encephalitis and pretty much at this point, just trying to figure out what was wrong with him," Ms Castillo told US news outlet The Facts.
It is still unclear how Josiah came into contact with the amoeba.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission
Originally published as Boy dies from deadly brain-eating amoeba