Original Paper

Parasitology Research

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 621-627

First online:

Prevalence of Acanthamoeba spp. and other free-living amoebae in household water, Ohio, USA—1990–1992

  • Lauren J. StockmanAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Carolyn J. WrightAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Govinda S. VisvesvaraAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Barry S. FieldsAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Michael J. BeachAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention Email author 

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Knowledge of the prevalence of free-living amoebae (FLA) in US household water can provide a focus for prevention of amoeba-associated illnesses. Household water samples from two Ohio counties, collected and examined for amoebae during 1990–1992, were used to describe the prevalence of Acanthamoeba and other FLA in a household setting. Amoebae were isolated and identified by morphologic features. A total of 2,454 samples from 467 households were examined. Amoebae were found in water samples of 371 (79%) households. Sites most likely to contain amoeba were shower heads (52%) and kitchen sprayers (50%). Species of Hartmannella, Acanthamoeba, or Vahlkampfia were most common. Detection was higher in biofilm swab samples than in water samples. Detection of FLA and Acanthamoeba, at 79% and 51%, respectively, exceed estimates that have been published in previous surveys of household sources. We believe FLA are commonplace inhabitants of household water in this sample as they are in the environment.