By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a Images in Clinical Medicine published today in the New England Journal of MedicineEmory University researchers describe a case of Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis (GAE) caused by the free-living amoeba, Acanthamoeba.

Acanthamoeba trophozoites

They report the 82-year-old man likely contracted the parasite via exposure to soil from potted-plant maintenance.

He was hospitalized and died after a week. An autopsy showed “liquefactive necrosis” in part of his brain.

Acanthamoeba cysts and trophozoites were detected microscopically and by PCR.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says  Acanthamoeba is a microscopic, free-living ameba, or amoeba (single-celled living organism), that can cause rare, but severe infections of the eye, skin, and central nervous system. The ameba is found worldwide in the environment in water and soil.

Acanthamoeba case in Michigan with Shahzad Mian, M.D.

The three diseases caused by Acanthamoeba are:

Acanthamoeba keratitis – An infection of the eye that typically occurs in healthy persons and can result in permanent visual impairment or blindness.

Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis (GAE) – A serious infection of the brain and spinal cord that typically occurs in persons with a compromised immune system.

Disseminated infection – A widespread infection that can affect the skin, sinuses, lungs, and other organs independently or in combination. It is also more common in persons with a compromised immune system.