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Parasitology Research

, Volume 113, Issue 7, pp 2509–2513 | Cite as

The isolation of Balamuthia mandrillaris from environmental sources from Peru

  • Alfonso Martín Cabello-Vílchez
  • María Reyes-Batlle
  • Esmelda Montalbán-Sandoval
  • Carmen Mª Martín-Navarro
  • Atteneri López-Arencibia
  • Rafaela Elias-Letts
  • Humberto Guerra
  • Eduardo Gotuzzo
  • Enrique Martínez-Carretero
  • José E. Piñero
  • Sutherland K. Maciver
  • Basilio Valladares
  • Jacob Lorenzo-Morales
Original Paper

Abstract

Balamuthia mandrillaris is an opportunistic free-living amoeba that has been reported to cause skin lesions and the fatal Balamuthia amoebic encephalitis (BAE) in humans and other animals. Currently, around 200 human BAE cases have been reported worldwide, although this number is considered to be underestimated. The highest number of BAE cases has been reported in the American continent, mainly in the southwest of the USA. Peru seems to be another hotspot for BAE with around 55 human cases having been identified, usually involving cutaneous infection, especially lesions in the central face area. The isolation of Balamuthia from environmental sources has been reported on only three prior occasions, twice from Californian soils and once from dust in Iran and so it seems that this amoeba is relatively rarely encountered in samples from the environment. We investigated that possibility of finding the amoebae in soil samples from different regions where clinical cases have been reported in Peru. Twenty-one samples were cultured in non-nutrient agar plates and were checked for the presence of B. mandrillaris-like trophozoites and/or cysts. Those samples that were positive for these amoebae by microscopic criteria were then confirmed by PCR amplification and DNA sequencing of the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene of B. mandrillaris. We have detected the presence of B. mandrillaris in four samples collected in the regions of Piura (3) and Lima (1) where infection cases have been previously reported. We hypothesize that B. mandrillaris is present in Peru in soil and dust which therefore constitutes a source of the infection for the BAE cases previously reported in this country. Further studies should be carried out in the area to confirm the generality of this finding.

Keywords

Balamuthia mandrillaris Emerging pathogen Encephalitis Skin Therapy Diagnosis Peru 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the grants RICET (project no. RD12/0018/0012 of the programme of Redes Temáticas de Investigación Cooperativa, FIS), Spanish Ministry of Health, Madrid, Spain and the Project FIS PI10/01298 “Protozoosis emergentes por amebas de vida libre: aislamiento y caracterización molecular, identificación de cepas transportadoras de otros agentes patógenos y búsqueda de quimioterapias efectivas” , PI13/00490 “Protozoosis Emergentes por Amebas de Vida Libre: Aislamiento, Caracterización, Nuevas Aproximaciones Terapéuticas y Traslación Clínica de los Resultados” from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III and Project ref. AGUA3 “Amebas de Vida Libre como Marcadores de Calidad del Agua” from CajaCanarias Fundación.

ALA was funded by the grant “Ayudas del Programa de Formación de Personal Investigador, para la realización de Tesis Doctorales” from the Agencia Canaria de Investigación, Innovación y Sociedad de la Información from the Canary Islands Government. CMMN was supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Fundación Canaria Manuel Morales, La Palma, Canary Islands. MRB was funded by Becas Fundación Cajacanarias para Postgraduados 2014. JLM was supported by the Ramón y Cajal Subprogramme from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competivity RYC-2011-08863. AMCV was funded by Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional y Desarrollo (AECID) and CEI Canarias, Campus Atlántico Internacional.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfonso Martín Cabello-Vílchez
    • 1
    • 2
  • María Reyes-Batlle
    • 1
  • Esmelda Montalbán-Sandoval
    • 3
  • Carmen Mª Martín-Navarro
    • 1
    • 4
  • Atteneri López-Arencibia
    • 1
  • Rafaela Elias-Letts
    • 5
  • Humberto Guerra
    • 2
  • Eduardo Gotuzzo
    • 2
  • Enrique Martínez-Carretero
    • 1
  • José E. Piñero
    • 1
  • Sutherland K. Maciver
    • 4
  • Basilio Valladares
    • 1
  • Jacob Lorenzo-Morales
    • 1
  1. 1.University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary IslandsUniversity of La LagunaTenerife, Canary IslandsSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Laboratory of Clinical MicrobiologyTropical Medicine Institute “Alexander von Humboldt” IMT-AvHLimaPeru
  3. 3.Asociación Civil Impacta Perú Salud y EducaciónLimaPeru
  4. 4.Centre for Integrative Physiology, School of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  5. 5.Laboratorio de Ecotoxicología, Laboratorios de Investigación y Desarrollo (LID), Facultad de Ciencias y FilosofíaUniversidad Peruana Cayetano HerediaLimaPeru

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