LAKE JACKSON, Texas (NBC) – People living in a community near Houston are on edge, being warned to boil their water after a 6-year-old boy died from a rare parasite found in the water supply.
Josiah McIntyre fell ill in early September. His mother, Maria Castillo, says doctors diagnosed her son as having contracted a deadly, brain-eating amoeba.
“I just miss him,” Castillo said. “I can’t believe this happened and I’m crushed that he’s gone, it’s all very surreal.”
With the help of the family, city officials narrowed the source of the amoeba, focusing on a water play area at a city splash pad and an outdoor hose at the family’s home.
“A little boy has passed away and that it could have possible gotten into our system, and we just had no idea and we just want to make sure that everybody is safe,” a city official said.
Officials originally told residents in eight Texas communities not to use the water. Now, only Lake Jackson residents are under a boil-water notice.
The CDC is also recommending letting taps run for five minutes before bathing, not allowing children to play with hoses or sprinklers, and avoiding getting any water in ones nose while showering or swimming.
“As a parent, it’s hard to not think about it,” Castillo said. “Because I’m supposed to protect him and I couldn’t from this.”