ARABI, Louisiana – When a deadly amoeba was found in the state’s municipal water supply last fall, questions and concerns about the safety of drinking water swirled across every part of the state.
It marked the first time in United States history that this amoeba was found in treated drinking water.
Three people died from the brain-eating amoeba, naegleria fowleri, and it has been a long fight for the mother of the first victim.
28-year-old Jeff Cusimano was his mother Patrice’s only child. “He was kind, generous, good-hearted,” she said.
Jeff was a business student at the University of New Orleans, on the Dean’s List, and temporarily living at home with his mom in St. Bernard Parish where he was healthy and active – other than his allergies.
“If he didn’t use this neti pot every day that he used to cleanse his sinuses, he would get congested and it would usually lead to an infection,” said Patrice, “so he used it every day.”
Through his years of using the neti pot, there was never a problem until June 2011. “He mowed the lawn for me on Thursday and was fine. Then Friday night, when he came home from work he complained that he had a headache.
Sometime over Saturday into Sunday he started vomiting,” said Patrice.
After doctors discovered the amoeba by administering a spinal they pumped Jeff full of antibiotics, but he died the next day.