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Parasitol Res. 2011 Sep;109(3):575-80. doi: 10.1007/s00436-011-2288-5. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Potentially pathogenic free-living amoebae isolated from hospital wards with immunodeficient patients in Tehran, Iran.

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Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


This study investigated the occurrence of free-living amoebae (FLA) in immunodeficiency wards of hospitals in Tehran, Iran. A total of 70 dust and biofilm samples from wards serving transplant, pediatric (malignancies), HIV, leukemia and oncology patients of five university hospitals were collected and examined for the presence of FLA using culturing and molecular approaches. Based on the morphology of the amoebae in plate cultures, primer sets were applied for molecular identification of Acanthamoeba, vahlkampfiid amoebae and Hartmannella. Out of 70 samples, 37 (52.9%) were positive for FLA. Acanthamoeba belonged to the T4 genotype was the most prevalent isolate. Presence of the T4 genotype on medical instruments, including an oxygen mask in an isolation room of an immunodeficiency pediatric ward, should be of concern for health authorities. Acanthamoeba T5 genotypes, Hartmannella vermiformis, and Vahlkampfia avara were also present. These results highlight a clear need for greater attention to improved disinfection, especially where susceptible patients, such as those who are immune-suppressed, are served. To our knowledge, this is the first report of these FLA in immunodeficiency wards in Iran, and also the first to identify Acanthamoeba T5, Hartmannella, and Vahlkampfia in moist habitats, such as biofilms, in this country.

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