CDC at Work: Balamuthia mandrillaris

Balamuthia mandrillaris Program

CDC created the national Free-living and Intestinal Ameba (FLIA) Laboratory in 1978, which has become a national and global leader for diagnostic expertise and clinical guidance. As a national resource for health departments and clinicians, CDC’s FLIA laboratory diagnoses most Balamuthia infections in the U.S. CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch tracks and assists with infections caused by the intestinal ameba Entamoeba histolytica and the free-living amebae Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba, and Sappinia.

The CDC Balamuthia program focuses on five main areas to better understand and combat this disease:

  1. Providing 24/7 diagnostic expertise and clinical guidance to health professionals
  2. Tracking, investigating, and reporting infections and disease outbreaks
  3. Leading CDC health promotion and communication activities
  4. Investigating whole genome sequencing to understand pathogenicity and virulence
  5. Developing new methods for detection of Balamuthia in clinical and environmental samples (for example, in water)