CNS infections with free-living amebas: neuroimaging findings

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1998 Sep;171(3):809-12. doi: 10.2214/ajr.171.3.9725321.


Objective: The purpose of this report is to describe the clinical history, treatment, pathology, and imaging in two cases of rare CNS infection caused by free-living amebas. The Naegleria fowleri and Acanthamoeba species cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis, respectively. We describe the neuroimaging findings of a case involving a nonspecific cerebral edema pattern in primary amebic meningoencephalitis and a case involving focal enhancing lesions in granulomatous amebic encephalitis.

Conclusion: Primary amebic meningoencephalitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis have a grave prognosis and, although rare, should be considered in the differential diagnosis for patients who present with appropriate histories and imaging findings, including nonspecific brain edema on CT in primary amebic meningoencephalitis and focal punctate enhancing lesions in the posterior cranial fossa on T1-weighted MR imaging in granulomatous amebic encephalitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba*
  • Adult
  • Amebiasis / diagnosis*
  • Amebiasis / parasitology
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Encephalitis / diagnosis*
  • Encephalitis / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Meningoencephalitis / diagnosis*
  • Meningoencephalitis / parasitology*
  • Naegleria fowleri*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed