Send to

Choose Destination
Rev Neurol. 1998 Jun;26(154):1005-8.

[Central nervous system infection by free-living amebas: report of 3 Venezuelan cases].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Zulia, Venezuela.



Infection of the Central Nervous System by free living amebas is an unusual event, 344 cases have been reported to date. The disease becomes evident in two different clinical fashions: Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) caused by Naegleria fowleri and Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis (GAE) induced by Spp. of Acanthamoeba and Balamuthia.


The authors report three new cases from Venezuela. Case 1. 34 years old man, with a chief complaint of general malaise, headache and fever, a diagnosis of common cold was made and the patient was treated as such, he did not improve and was admitted to the hospital with deterioration of his clinical status; the patient died 10 days after the onset of his illness which was determined to be GAE produced by Balamuthia mandrillaris. Case 2. 8 years old female admitted to the hospital because of fever, headache and generalized seizures of sudden onset; neurocysticercosis was diagnosed and following improvement the patient was discharged and readmitted on two occasions because of relapse and worsening of her illness, she died 2 months after the onset of her disease that was diagnosed by autopsy as GAE due to Balamuthia mandrillaris. Case 3. 16 years old male, previously healthy, who following immersion in a water tank was admitted to the hospital because of meningeal irritation that progressed to coma and death in a 7 day lapse; autopsy revealed PAM by Naegleria fowleri. The two cases of GAE due to Balamuthia mandrillaris occurred in apparently immunocompetent individuals, contrary to the statement that these microorganisms are opportunistic.


We believe that neurological infection by amphizoic amebas is being underdiagnosed, probably due to ignorance regarding this pathology or because of a very low autopsy rate in most countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center