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A brief survey of free-living amebae in Thailand and Hamamatsu District, Japan.

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Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


The aim of this study was to determine the presence of free-living amebae in aquatic habitats of human environments in Thailand and Hamamatsu district, Japan. Genus identification was based on the morphology of cyst and trophozoite forms and a flagellation test for genus Naegleria. The pathogenic potential was tested in mice by nasal instillation for genus Naegleria and Acanthameba. In 14 provinces of Thailand, amebae were isolated in 43 from 95 water samples and 67 from 120 soil swabs. Amebae of 49 isolates from waters were identified as Acanthameba (36.7%), Naegleria (28.6%), Hartmannella (20.4%), Vahlkampfia (12.2%) and Vannella (2%). Soil samples have significantly higher levels of Acanthameba and Hartmannella (p<0.05) but lower for Naegleria (p<0.05) and 7 unidentified amebae were found. In Hamamatsu district, Japan, 62 amebae of the same genera were isolated from 47 of 95 water samples. There were significantly higher levels of Acanthameba (22.6%) (p<0.05) but lower for Naegleria (4.8%) (p<0.05) than those of Thailand which each of them caused death in mice. Three unidentified amebae were isolated. This finding serves as additional evidence for the presence of free-living amebae under natural and the difference in distribution between tropic and subtropic areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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