Attack of the Zombie Microbes

Matthew Schroh, Reporter

There are many things we all believe we can trust. Family, for example. Oxygen, shelter, food, and water also come to mind. However, what if we couldn’t trust our water? In fact, what if our water could kill us?

That’s what’s going on right now in the town of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, which is scarily close to New Orleans, one of the most highly populated cities in America. The cause of death is an amoeba, a tiny bacteria. It doesn’t sound too bad until you hear that this amoeba goes full zombie and devours your brain from the inside out if it gets in your body. Although there have only been three confirmed deaths in Louisiana thus far, but the terrifying part is nobody knows where these parasites came from. They just appeared in the local water supply.

A theory is that these parasites (scientific name Naegleria fowleri) are left over from Hurricane Katrina, but that would fail to explain why they are resurfacing now. The town is taking action on these parasitic amoebas by flushing their toilets with chlorine, because chlorine kills them (chlorine, however, is also a deadly chemical if inhaled in its gaseous form, so we can only hope it doesn’t evaporate).

People in St. Bernard Parish are advised not to let water from showers, bathtubs, swimming pools, or sinks get up their noses, because that gives the amoebas a one-way ticket to the brain. Even the local water fountains have been rendered useless until this panic blows over, meaning that the town will need filters or be dehydrated for a while.

It just goes to show you how much we take things for granted. There is dangerous and polluted air in Mexico City and China (so much that you need to wear a gas mask outside!). People are starving in the Middle East. Homeless people scatter the globe. And now, water is harboring a small bacteria that devours your brain in an cheap-B-alien-movie-like manner. To make a long story short, be sure to bring bottled water if you need to visit Louisiana.