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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Amoeba can Travel to Brain to cause Primary Meningoencephalitis

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 7:55 PM Comments

I could remember, during my MBBS period, I was remembering the names of the amoeba those can affect brain, which is rare; mostly for the purpose of examination. Today, an article in The USTODAY described about a boy suffering from infection of brain by amoeba and his condition is critical.
The boy, identified by the News-Press in Fort Myers, is Zachary Reyna, 12. Family and officials said he contracted the ailment after playing in a water-filled ditch on Aug. 3 by his house in LaBelle, Fla..
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one out of the 128 people infected by the parasite in the United States from 1962 to 2012 survived it. Thirty-one of the U.S. cases were in 2003 to 2012.
The two amoeba those can affect brain are Naegleria and Hartmanella. Usually, contacted from water sports, but may get in through forcing of contaminated water through nose; the parasite traverses brain through the nose via olfactory nerve and starts infection.
Other free living amoeba those may also affect brain leading to granulomatous amebic encephalitis arecaused by Balamuthia mandrillaris and Acanthamoeba.

English: Stages of Naegleria fowleri, a member...
English: Stages of Naegleria fowleri, a member of the Percolozoa. Français : Différentes formes de l'amibe Naegleria fowleri de l'embranchement de Percolozoa. image tirée du Wikipédia anglophone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naegleria fowleri infection is called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis and is basically inflammation of brain tissue and also the lining that protects the brain. Naegleria fowleri infections are commonly called brain eating disease, brain eating amoeba or brain eating bacteria.
Symptoms typically occur within 2 to 7 days after the amoeba has reached the brain. Individuals will complain of stiff neck and will appear confused, unstable and will suffer from nausea, headaches, fever before turning semiconscious and finally comatose.
The physician can diagnose Naegleria fowleri infection upon examining spinal fluid under a microscope and finding the amoeba. Early detection is crucial to properly diagnose and treat this rare infection.
Treatment of this disease is not very satisfactory. Amphotericin B administered intravenously and tetracycline are recommended for treatment. Other agent used for treatment of the condition are meltefosine (Primarily used in Leishmaniasis) , rifampin, fluconazole, and azithromycin.
But, prevention is better than treatment in this life threatening disease.
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