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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1991 Jan;115(1):21-5.

Amebic meningoencephalitis in a patient with AIDS caused by a newly recognized opportunistic pathogen. Leptomyxid ameba.

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Department of Pathology, Kings County Hospital Center, NY.


A fatal case of meningoencephalitis due to a leptomyxid ameba in a patient with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is presented. This opportunistic organism has not been previously recognized as a human pathogen. A 36-year-old male intravenous drug abuser died after an 18-day hospital course heralded by fever and headache and followed by nuchal rigidity and hemiparesis. Computed tomography of the head showed multiple hypodense lesions. Neuropathologic examination showed that in addition to human immunodeficiency virus encephalomyelitis, there was multifocal meningoencephalitis with trophozoites and cysts morphologically indistinguishable from those of Acanthamoeba. These organisms were also found in the kidneys and adrenal glands. By immunofluorescence, the parasites showed antigenic identity with a free-living leptomyxid ameba and failed to react with any of a spectrum of antiacanthamoeba antisera. This emphasizes the importance of immunofluorescence identification of morphologically indistinguishable ameba species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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