August 1st – As summer comes to a close we will spend the next 31 days exploring the parasites that call our bodies home from time to time. Humans are generally accidental hosts and not intended hosts for these creepy crawlies. I hope you enjoy!

Acanthamoeba is a genus of amoebae, a single-celled eukaryote commonly recovered from soil, fresh water and other habitats. Acanthamoeba has two evolutive forms, the metabolically active trophozoite and a dormant, stress resistant cyst. Trophozoites are small, usually 15 to 35 μm in length and amoeboid in shape. In nature, Acanthamoeba species are free-living bacterivores, but in certain situations they can cause infections (Acanthamebiasis) in humans and other animals. Diseases caused by Acanthamoeba include keratitis and granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE). The latter is often but not always seen in immunosuppressed patients. GAE is caused by the amoeba entering the body through an open wound then spreading to the brain. The combination of host immune response and amoebal proteases causes massive brain swelling resulting in death in ~95% of those infected.

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