Mother of amoeba victim makes emotional plea as five parishes face fears

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CHALMETTE, La. (WGNO) - "I was told in June of 2011 that the bacteria were only in my house; it was not in the water system. I want the pipes fixed I want people to know about this. I don't want anybody to go through what I went through,” says Patrice Cusimano.

Community leaders say that the testing being done now—in order to detect the deadly brain-eating amoeba that killed her son—didn’t exist when Jeff Cusimano died on June 7, 2011.

"My son used a neti pot. This particular neti pot had instructions that said it was okay to use tap water,” Mrs. Cusimano said at the St. Bernard Parish community meeting Tuesday night.

Patrice Cusimano says her 28-year-old son Jeff had used a neti pot since before Katrina but only died in 2011, because of the deadly amoeba that is once again showing up in St. Bernard Parish water.

But this isn't just a St. Bernard Parish problem—State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry says they've been working with four parishes, and just notified Ascension Parish to the list.

The five parishes where water has tested positive for the deadly amoeba are: St. Bernard, St. John, Desoto, Sabine and Ascension.

"If you think you can drink it, why can't you pour it through your nose? You don't think you're living in a 3rd world country!” says Mrs. Cusimano.

Here’s Dr. Guidry’s answer:

"This amoeba is very sensitive to stomach acid so when it goes to your stomach, it gets killed. When it goes up your nose, high up your nose and enters your skull to the cribriform plate, the holes in your skull, that's how it gets to your brain but when it gets to your stomach from drinking, it's not gonna cause any problems, because of the stomach acid.”


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