NEW ORLEANS (AP) — While officials try to pin down the source of a deadly amoeba found in the water supply of a suburban New Orleans community, bottled water sales in St. Bernard Parish have skyrocketed and some people worry about washing their faces in the shower.
That's despite experts who say the only danger is to people who manage to get the microscopic organism way up their noses. Dr. Raoult Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist, said its only entry to the brain is through minute openings in a bone about level with the top of the eyeball.
State health officials tried to dispel common "myths and rumors" about the amoeba Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEE-ree-uh FOW-ler-eye) — starting with the notion that the parish water isn't safe to drink.
But belief comes hard to many people.