Health officials are reported a brain-eating amoeba was found in the Rio Grande River along the Texas border with Mexico. Mexican health officials in Tamaulipas warned people to refrain from swimming in or bathing in the river that is used by many to illegally enter the United States.
The discovery of the often deadly protozoan was reported last week in the river, a KGNS NBC8 news report revealed.
U.S. Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza spoke with Breitbart Texas in his capacity as National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 president. Garza warned his fellow Border Patrol agents to use caution when working along the river. He also urged immigrants against trying to swim across the river at this time.
“In the Laredo Sector, there is a lot of sewage that is dumped into the river by a Mexican sewage plant,” Garza explained. “The plant dump raw sewage in unregulated amounts into the river.”
He said the river is also one of the main sources of water for the residents of Laredo. “That water is treated on the U.S. side by the City of Laredo,” he said.
Garza reminded Breitbart Texas that a Border Patrol agent recently risked his life by jumping into the Rio Grande River to save a group of four illegal aliens that appeared to be at risk of drowning. Their human smugglers abandoned them when they became distressed in the water. “This is not the first time our agents have jumped into the Rio Grande River and risked their lives in order to save illegal immigrants in distress,” Garza told Breitbart Texas earlier this week.
Garza said the discovery of the brain-eating amoeba in the river makes it just that much more dangerous for the agent working in this sector.
Earlier this month, a Houston teenager was killed by the type of amoeba occasionally found in warm bodies of water. Hudson Adams had just graduated from high school as was working as a lifeguard at the Frontier Christian Camp, located about two hours north of Houston, KPRC NBC2 reported. Hudson became ill over the weekend of July 9-10. He was transported to a local hospital and then, on Monday, he was flown to Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston where he was put on life support. He died two days later. KPRC reported this is the second death caused by brain-eating amoeba in the Houston area in the past year.
While the amoeba is not that common, nine people have lost their lives to the protozoan since 2006, KGNS reported.
Authorities offer the following as tips to avoid the amoeba:
- Don’t swim, ski, or dive in standing water;
- Use nose clips when swimming or diving;
- Avoid submerging your head completely;
- Don’t stir the sediment in the water; and
- Always take a shower with clean water and soap after getting into natural water.
Editor’s Note: This article originally used the term bacteria in describing the amoeba. The article has been updated with the proper term, protozoan.