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J Clin Microbiol. 1990 Dec;28(12):2750-6.

Leptomyxid ameba, a new agent of amebic meningoencephalitis in humans and animals.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


Amebae belonging to the order Leptomyxida are regarded as innocuous soil organisms incapable of infecting mammals. We report here the isolation of a leptomyxid ameba from the brain of a pregnant baboon (Papio sphinx) that died of meningoencephalitis at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. By using rabbit anti-leptomyxid serum in the immunofluorescence assay, we have identified the leptomyxid ameba in the brain sections of a number of human encephalitic cases from around the world as well as a few cases of meningoencephalitis in animals in the United States, which suggests that the leptomyxid amebae are potential etiologic agents of fatal meningoencephalitis in humans and animals.

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