Parasitology Research

, Volume 104, Issue 5, pp 969–978 | Cite as

Survey for the presence of Naegleria fowleri Amebae in lake water used to cool reactors at a nuclear power generating plant

  • Melissa Jamerson
  • Kenneth Remmers
  • Guy Cabral
  • Francine Marciano-Cabral
Original Paper


Water from Lake Anna in Virginia, a lake that is used to cool reactors at a nuclear power plant and for recreational activities, was assessed for the presence of Naegleria fowleri, an ameba that causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). This survey was undertaken because it has been reported that thermally enriched water fosters the propagation of N. fowleri and, hence, increases the risk of infection to humans. Of 16 sites sampled during the summer of 2007, nine were found to be positive for N. fowleri by a nested polymerase chain reaction assay. However, total ameba counts, inclusive of N. fowleri, never exceeded 12/50 mL of lake water at any site. No correlation was obtained between the conductivity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH of water and presence of N. fowleri. To date, cases of PAM have not been reported from this thermally enriched lake. It is postulated that predation by other protozoa and invertebrates, disturbance of the water surface from recreational boating activities, or the presence of bacterial or fungal toxins, maintain the number N. fowleri at a low level in Lake Anna.


Nuclear Power Plant Coliform Count Lake Water Sample Nest Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay Thermal Addition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank Eric Jamerson and Harry Ruth for technical assistance with this project. This survey was supported, in part by a grant from the Lake Anna Civic Association. Microscopy was performed at the VCU-Dept. of Anatomy and Neurobiology Microscopy Facility supported, in part, with funding from NIH-NINDS Center core grant 5P30 NS047463.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa Jamerson
    • 1
  • Kenneth Remmers
    • 2
  • Guy Cabral
    • 1
  • Francine Marciano-Cabral
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyVirginia Commonwealth University School of MedicineRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Lake Anna Civic AssociationLake AnnaUSA

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