This photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen depicts the cytoarchitectural changes associated with a free-living amebic infection, which may have been caused by either a Naegleria fowleri, or an Acanthamoeba sp. The organisms were found in the brain of a Japanese Prisoner of war in the 1950's, before we knew about the free living amebae, and how they attack the brain. When free-living amebae infect the brain or spinal cord, the condition is known as primary amebic meningoenceohalitis, or PAM. Free-living amebae belonging to the genera Acanthamoeba, Balamuthia, and Naegleria are important causes of disease in humans and animals, though only one specie of Naegleria, Naegleria fowleri, causes disease in humans.
CDC/ Dr. Martin D. Hicklin
November 4, 2012
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