Acanthamoeba spp. is a free-living opportunistic protozoan parasites, which can be found in tap, fresh and bottled mineral waters, contact lens solutions, soil etc.
The present study is aimed to determine the Acanthamoeba spp. on the basis of their morpho-molecular aspects in different water sources of the West Azerbaijan province, Northwest of Iran.
In this cross-sectional study, 60 water samples were collected from rivers and tap waters during June to September 2015. The water samples were filtered through a cellulose nitrate filter and cultured on non-nutrient agar medium. The extracted DNAs were amplified and some ampliqons were sequenced using partial 18S rRNA for genotyping and phylogenetic analyses.
Twenty-seven (45%) out of 60 water samples were positive to Acanthamoeba spp. using both culture and morphological examinations. In addition, 24 (40%) out of 27 positive samples in culture method were confirmed by PCR to be Acanthamoeba spp.
A relatively high prevalence of Acanthamoeba spp. in rivers reflects a risk alert for threatening human health in the region. However, well hygienic status of the tap waters considering Acanthamoeba spp. cannot be ignored in western co-border regions of Iran-Iraq. This study can also serve as a platform for further explorations of water sources in Iran and neighboring countries.