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J Hosp Infect. 2014 Jul;87(3):131-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2014.05.001. Epub 2014 May 19.

Free-living amoebae: what part do they play in healthcare-associated infections?

Author information

1
Laboratoire de parasitologie et mycologie médicale, Faculté de médecine et de pharmacie, Poitiers, France; Ecologie et Biologie des Interactions, Université de Poitiers, UMR CNRS 7267, Equipe Microbiologie de l'Eau, Poitiers, France. Electronic address: estelle.cateau@chu-poitiers.fr.
2
Ecologie et Biologie des Interactions, Université de Poitiers, UMR CNRS 7267, Equipe Microbiologie de l'Eau, Poitiers, France.
3
Laboratoire de parasitologie et mycologie médicale, Faculté de médecine et de pharmacie, Poitiers, France; Ecologie et Biologie des Interactions, Université de Poitiers, UMR CNRS 7267, Equipe Microbiologie de l'Eau, Poitiers, France.

Abstract

Free-living amoebae (FLA) are ubiquitous protozoa that do not require a host organism for survival. They are found in natural environments such as water or soil, and man-made environments including tap water or swimming pools, where they may interact with other micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi and viruses. FLA can harbour micro-organisms including those found in hospital water systems, offering them protection against hostile conditions, providing a vehicle of dissemination, and enabling them to prepare for subsequent survival in macrophages. The interaction between Legionella pneumophila and FLA has been studied extensively; subsequent investigations have shown that FLA may serve as a reservoir for other bacteria including mycobacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, or even fungi and viruses. Amoebae found in hospital water systems can serve as a reservoir of potential pathogens and thus be indirectly related to healthcare-associated infections.

KEYWORDS:

Free-living amoebae; Healthcare-associated infections; Interactions; Micro-organisms; Water

PMID:
24928786
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhin.2014.05.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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