Sappinia - Amebic Encephalitis

Left, Sappinia cysts. Right, a Sappinia trophozoite.

Sappinia is a free-living ameba, or amoeba* (a single-celled living organism), found in the environment. There are two known species of Sappinia: Sappinia diploidea and Sappinia pedata. This ameba causes amebic encephalitis, which is an infection of the brain. Worldwide, only one case of amebic encephalitis due to Sappinia infection has been reported.

Image: Left: Cyst form of Sappinia. Right: Trophozoite of Sappinia. Credit: DPDx

*About the Term “Ameba”
In U.S. English, the single-celled living organism described here is an ameba. The word amoeba, with an “o”, is used as part of a scientific genus name (such as Amoeba or Acanthamoeba). In British English, both the generic organism term and genera names are spelled amoeba with an “o”.