Acanthamoeba, known and unknown diseases
PHE ePoster Library. Alsam S. Apr 9, 2019; 259615; 15604
Dr. Selwa Alsam
Dr. Selwa Alsam
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Abstract Acanthamoeba keratitis, in contact lens wearers, is well known and can lead to considerable loss of vision. Less frequently this pathogenic amoeba causes potentially lethal Acanthamoeba granulomatous encephalitis (AGE) in both immunocompromised individuals and those with normal immunity but underlying disease, such as cancer. Symptoms of AGE are similar to other meningoencephalitides, obscuring diagnosis, and a lack of awareness results.It is unclear whether Acanthamoeba causes other disease but, crucially, these amoebae persist in the environment, and encyst to survive severe conditions, including many disinfecting procedures. Since Acanthamoeba not only feed on bacteria but also allow bacteria to persist symbiotically within them, we have investigated their relationship with common bacteria causing wound infections, such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and the presence of Acanthamoeba in complicated wound infections unresponsive to treatment. 140 clinical samples were collected from Colchester Hospital. Acanthamoeba was present in one, and the sequencing within the 18S rRNA gene showed it was the T4 genotype. A further area of interest is urinary tract infection (UTI), where recurrence is common, especially associated with the presence of E. coli. Previous studies have shown that pathogenic E. coli k1 can survive and multiply within Acanthamoeba, subsequently showing increased virulence. More 300 urine samples were collected from UTI patients at Colchester Hospital. 17% of these were positive for Acanthamoeba. Therefore, it was reasonable to hypothesise that Acanthamoeba may play a role in recurrent UTIs (rUTIs). On testing TEM, AmpC and OXA-48 ESBL-positive strains, only OXA-48 was found to survive and multiply inside Acanthamoeba. We are currently investigating the nexus of urinary amoebic infection in rUTI patients and the virulence factors of symbiotic bacteria any such Acanthamoeba carry.
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