Free-living amoebae are protists that are widely distributed in the environment including water, soil, and air. Although the amoebae of the genus Acanthamoeba are still the most studied, other species, such as Vermamoeba vermiformis (formerly Hartmannella vermiformis), are the subject of increased interest. Found in natural or man-made aquatic environments, V. vermiformis can support the multiplication of other microorganisms and is able to harbor and potentially protect pathogenic bacteria or viruses. This feature is to be noted because of the presence of this thermotolerant amoeba in hospital water networks. As a consequence, this protist could be implicated in health concerns and be indirectly responsible for healthcare-related infections. This review highlights, among others, the consequences of V. vermiformis relationships with other microorganisms and shows that this free-living amoeba species is therefore of interest for public health.
Keywords: Free-living amoebae; Microorganisms; Protists; Vermamoeba vermiformis; Water.