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Brain-Eating Amoebas - Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment

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Course Title: Brain-Eating Amoebas - Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment

Course Duration: 60 minutes

Course Description: Pathogenic free-living amebae such as Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Naegleria fowleri, popularly termed “Brain Eating Amebae” have been known to cause infections of the human central nervous system. Both Acanthamoeba spp. and B. mandrillaris cause an often fatal chronic infection lasting a couple of weeks to two years called granulomatous amebic encephalitis (GAE), skin ulcers and disseminated disease. Acanthamoeba spp. causes infection of the eye, Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). Naegleria fowleri causes an acute and fulminant infection principally in children and young adults called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) leading to death within 5 to 10 days.

This webinar will address the importance of using a combination of morphology, immunofluorescence microscopy, and real-time PCR for rapid and accurate diagnosis of the three amebae that cause these infections.

Objectives: At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the morphological characteristics of Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri.
  2. Identify the testing methods available for the diagnosis of these three amebae.

Audience: These intermediate-level webinars are of interest to public health laboratorians.

Additional Information: For additional information on Acanthamoeba spp., please visit
For additional information on Balamuthia mandrillaris, please visit
For additional information on Naegleria fowleri, please visit

Additional laboratory testing information may be found at or by contacting


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