Naegleria fowleri

Subphylum Sarcodina
    Order Schizopyrenida
        Family Vahlkamphidae
            Naegleria fowleri

Background

-Causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)

Morphology

-3 stage or forms
--Amebic
--Cyst - found in colder then ideal climates for this parasite
--Flagellated - involves two flagellated at an end that aid in movement

Definitive host: None, free-living organism

Accidental host: Humans and other mammals

Geographical distribution: Temperate to tropic areas in hot springs or thermal pools

Life cycle:

   In the environment, Naegleria is a free-living organism and is commonly found in the cyst or flagellated form. The accidental host gets infected with the parasite while swimming or bathing. Water that is contaminated with the parasite goes up the nose. The parasite moves through the cribriform plate into the brain. The parasite now is transformed into the amebic form.  This form migrates around the brain quickly causing severe brain damage (PAM).

Pathogenesis

-Headaches, nausea, vomiting, fever, seizures, and death

Diagnosis

-Patient history
-Autopsy

Treatment

-Extremely high doses of Amphotericin B, Miconazole, and Rifampin

Public Health concerns

-Low health concerns because of the rarity of this parasite

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This page was last modified on January 26, 2004
Send questions and comments to Kim Bates