Parasitology Research

, Volume 114, Issue 5, pp 1739–1746 | Cite as

Comparison of real-time PCR methods for the detection of Naegleria fowleri in surface water and sediment

  • Ashleigh Streby
  • Bonnie J. Mull
  • Karen Levy
  • Vincent R. HillEmail author
Original Paper


Naegleria fowleri is a thermophilic free-living ameba found in freshwater environments worldwide. It is the cause of a rare but potentially fatal disease in humans known as primary amebic meningoencephalitis. Established N. fowleri detection methods rely on conventional culture techniques and morphological examination followed by molecular testing. Multiple alternative real-time PCR assays have been published for rapid detection of Naegleria spp. and N. fowleri. Foursuch assays were evaluated for the detection of N. fowleri from surface water and sediment. The assays were compared for thermodynamic stability, analytical sensitivity and specificity, detection limits, humic acid inhibition effects, and performance with seeded environmental matrices. Twenty-one ameba isolates were included in the DNA panel used for analytical sensitivity and specificity analyses. N. fowleri genotypes I and III were used for method performance testing. Two of the real-time PCR assays were determined to yield similar performance data for specificity and sensitivity for detecting N. fowleri in environmental matrices.


Naegleria fowleri Real-time PCR Environmental detection Method comparison 



We would like to thank Dr. Jothikumar Narayanan (CDC) for his guidance on implementing the real-time PCR assays for this study and evaluation of study data. The findings and conclusions in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University. The use of trade names and names of commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the US Department of Health and Human Services.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashleigh Streby
    • 1
  • Bonnie J. Mull
    • 2
  • Karen Levy
    • 1
  • Vincent R. Hill
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Food and Waterborne Disease Program, Bureau of EpidemiologyFlorida Department of HealthTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Waterborne Disease Prevention BranchCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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