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J Clin Microbiol. Sep 1992; 30(9): 2447–2450.
PMCID: PMC265521

Acanthamoeba keratitis: synergy between amebic and bacterial cocontaminants in contact lens care systems as a prelude to infection.


We encountered a patient with Acanthamoeba keratitis whose contact lens care solution contained numerous trophozoites and cysts admixed with Xanthomonas maltophilia organisms, many of which were adherent to the trophozoite surface and internalized within endocytic vacuoles. Because of this finding, we investigated the role of bacterial cocontaminants in contact lens care systems as substrates for the growth of Acanthamoeba spp. Individual cocultivation of Acanthamoeba castellanii and A. polyphaga with X. maltophilia, Flavobacterium breve, and Pseudomonas paucimobilis showed better enhancement (1.5x) of ameba growth after 96 h than that obtained in the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, and Escherichia coli, the standard cocultivation species used for isolation of amebae from clinical specimens. Our data suggest that contamination of contact lens care systems with Acanthamoeba spp. and a bacterial species capable of supporting amebic growth may be the first step in the pathogenesis of ameba-induced keratitis by the provision of large inocula of amebae.

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Selected References

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