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J Commun Dis. 1999 Sep;31(3):153-9.

Naegleria fowleri: a free living amoeba of emerging medical importance.

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Department of Microbiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Pondicherry.


Naegleria fowleri, a free-living amoeba is ubiquitous and word-wide in distribution. Infection is due to inhalation or aspiration of aerosols containing cysts found in the environment. Of late, the amoeba is emerging as a pathogen of medical importance causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) in humans. The diagnosis of the condition is mainly parasitic which depends on the detection and identification of Naegleria trophozoites in the cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) or biopsied brain tissue. Serological tests are not useful in the diagnosis of PAM. Most cases are fatal and various amoebicidal agents have been tried unsuccessfully. The present paper provides a review of the recent information on the biology and epidemiology of the disease caused by the amoeba Approaches in the diagnosis, pathophysiology and treatment of the condition are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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