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      Disseminated Balamuthia mandrillaris Infection

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          Abstract

          Balamuthia mandrillarisis a rare cause of human infection, but when infections do occur, they result in high rates of morbidity and mortality. A case of disseminated Balamuthiainfection is presented. Early diagnosis and initiation of recommended therapy are essential for increased chances of successful outcomes.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Pathogenic and opportunistic free-living amoebae: Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri, and Sappinia diploidea.

          Among the many genera of free-living amoebae that exist in nature, members of only four genera have an association with human disease: Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri and Sappinia diploidea. Acanthamoeba spp. and B. mandrillaris are opportunistic pathogens causing infections of the central nervous system, lungs, sinuses and skin, mostly in immunocompromised humans. Balamuthia is also associated with disease in immunocompetent children, and Acanthamoeba spp. cause a sight-threatening infection, Acanthamoeba keratitis, mostly in contact-lens wearers. Of more than 30 species of Naegleria, only one species, N. fowleri, causes an acute and fulminating meningoencephalitis in immunocompetent children and young adults. In addition to human infections, Acanthamoeba, Balamuthia and Naegleria can cause central nervous system infections in animals. Because only one human case of encephalitis caused by Sappinia diploidea is known, generalizations about the organism as an agent of disease are premature. In this review we summarize what is known of these free-living amoebae, focusing on their biology, ecology, types of disease and diagnostic methods. We also discuss the clinical profiles, mechanisms of pathogenesis, pathophysiology, immunology, antimicrobial sensitivity and molecular characteristics of these amoebae.
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            Successful treatment of Balamuthia amoebic encephalitis: presentation of 2 cases.

            Case histories are presented of 2 individuals (a 5-year-old girl and 64-year-old man) who developed encephalitis caused by the free-living amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris. Both individuals survived after diagnosis and initiation of effective antimicrobial therapy. Immunostaining for Balamuthia-specific antibody levels identified the causative agent of the infections. Antimicrobial therapy with flucytosine, pentamidine, fluconazole, sulfadiazine, and a macrolide antibiotic (azithromycin or clarithromycin) was initiated. Phenothiazines (thioridazine and trifluoperazine) were also used. Both patients recovered, and there was no evidence of recrudescence of the disease at 2 and 6 years after onset of symptoms. Awareness of Balamuthia as the causative agent of encephalitis and early initiation of antimicrobial therapy were critical to the recovery of both patients. Although optimal antimicrobial therapy for Balamuthia amoebic encephalitis has yet to be determined, the antimicrobials used in these 2 cases effectively controlled the disease. These 2 individuals are the only known survivors of this otherwise fatal type of amoebic encephalitis.
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              Amebic meningoencephalitides and keratitis: challenges in diagnosis and treatment.

              Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Naegleria fowleri, although free-living amebae, also cause devastating diseases in humans leading to death. Acanthamoeba spp. and B. mandrillaris cause granulomatous amebic encephalitis, cutaneous and nasopharyngeal as well as disseminated infection. Acanthamoeba also causes a vision-threatening infection of the cornea, Acanthamoeba keratitis, principally in contact lens wearers. N. fowleri causes an acute, fulminating infection of the central nervous system, primary amebic meningoencephalitis, in healthy children and young adults who indulge in aquatic activities in fresh water. This review focuses on the recent developments in the diagnosis and treatment and clinical management of the diseases caused by these amebae. Development of a multiplex real-time PCR test has made it possible to simultaneously detect all the three free-living amebae in a sample. It is a rapid assay with a short turn-around time of just 4-5 h. An early diagnosis would be helpful in initiating potentially effective treatment. A recent study reported exciting results indicating that loading of rokitamycin in chitosan microspheres improves and prolongs the in-vitro anti-Acanthamoeba activity of the drug. Diagnoses of these infections are challenging and antimicrobial therapy is empirical, which often results in fatalities. Further research is needed to explore the possibility of a better drug delivery system that crosses the blood-brain barrier and effectively reach the central nervous system.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Clinical Microbiology
                J. Clin. Microbiol.
                American Society for Microbiology
                0095-1137
                1098-660X
                August 18 2015
                September 2015
                September 2015
                July 01 2015
                : 53
                : 9
                : 3072-3076
                Article
                10.1128/JCM.01549-15
                © 2015
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