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Review

Amebic Meningoencephalitis

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan–.
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Review

Amebic Meningoencephalitis

Angela Pana et al.
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Excerpt

Free-living amebas are protozoan parasites that exist in the environment, mainly freshwater, lakes, and rivers without the need for a definitive host. In humans, there are three main genera of amebas than can cause disease, namely Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba species, and Balamuthia mandrillaris. The amebas have a propensity to cause central nervous system infections, but Acanthamoeba is well-known to cause keratitis and disseminated infections as well. These free-living amebas can cause two distinct clinical syndromes, primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) and granulomatous amebic encephalitis (GAE). The initial symptoms of PAM are indistinguishable from bacterial meningitis, while the symptoms of GAM can mimic a brain abscess, encephalitis, or meningitis. These infections are almost uniformly fatal. The mortality rate is above 90%, despite antimicrobial therapy.

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