More than 12, 500 people in "Saint John the Baptist" parish are at risk: A brain-eating amoeba was detected in the water system there. People in Reserve, Garyville and Mount Airy are advised to take precaution.
A water sample taken two weeks ago by the department of health and hospitals tested positive for the potentially deadly bacteria.
They also found the parish drinking water was not in compliance with state-mandated disinfectant levels.
This is the same kind of amoeba found in both Saint Bernard and Desoto parishes that's blamed for two deaths.
However, health officials says the bacteria is only harmful if ingested through the nose.
Local residents said, "You need water. We boil it first before you use it." Health officials stated, "We're taking every step necessary to relieve St. John Water District number one of that threat.
Children stated, "They need to clean this cause i need to take a clean bath. And we are dirty."
A chlorine burn through the water system will start first thing today followed by a 60 day wait to see if the brain eating ameba has been flushed out.
Natalie Robottom, the St. John Parish president states, "The problem is making sure you keep precautions to keep the water from going up your nose."
Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University says, "The amoeba finds itself way back of our noses and then can work its way into our central nervous system around our brains and once it's there, it just causes destruction."
The virus breeds and lives in warm standing bodies of water -- once you've contracted it you may experience severe headache, nausea and vomiting -- and in most cases death. Officials say the chlorine burn will last 60 days.