Coexistence of free-living amoebae and bacteria in selected South African hospital water distribution systems
- 537 Downloads
Pathogenic free-living amoebae (FLA), such as Naegleria fowleri, Balamuthia mandrillaris and Acanthamoeba species isolated from aquatic environments have been implicated in central nervous system, eye and skin human infections. They also allow the survival, growth and transmission of bacteria such as Legionella, Mycobacteria and Vibrio species in water systems. The purpose of this study was to investigate the co-occurrence of potentially pathogenic FLA and their associated bacteria in hospital water networks in Johannesburg, South Africa. A total of 178 water (n = 95) and swab (n = 83) samples were collected from two hospital water distribution systems. FLA were isolated using the amoebal enrichment technique and identified using PCR and 18S rDNA sequencing. Amoebae potentially containing intra-amoebal bacteria were lysed and cultured on blood agar plates. Bacterial isolates were characterized using the VITEK®2 compact System. Free-living amoebae were isolated from 77 (43.3 %) of the samples. Using microscopy, PCR and 18S rRNA sequencing, Acanthamoeba spp. (T3 and T20 genotypes), Vermamoeba vermiformis and Naegleria gruberi specie were identified. The Acanthamoeba T3 and T20 genotypes have been implicated in eye and central nervous system infections. The most commonly detected bacterial species were Serratia marcescens, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Delftia acidovorans, Sphingomonas paucimobilis and Comamonas testosteroni. These nosocomial pathogenic bacteria are associated with systematic blood, respiratory tract, the urinary tract, surgical wounds and soft tissues infections. The detection of FLA and their associated opportunistic bacteria in the hospital water systems point out to a potential health risk to immune-compromised individuals.
KeywordsAmoebal enrichment Acanthamoeba spp. Vermamoeba vermiformis Serretia marcescens
We thank the National Institute for Occupational Health and the University of Johannesburg for providing facilities for this project and the National Research Foundation for providing a bursary. We also acknowledge the Water Research Commission for funding the project.
Compliance with ethical standards
The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Cabello-Vílchez AM, Mena R, Zuñiga J, Cermeño P, Martín-Navarro CM, Gonzále AC, López-Arencibia A, Reyes-Batlle M, Piñero JE, Valladares B, Lorenzo-Morales J (2014) Endosymbiotic Mycobacterium chelonae in a Vermamoeba vermiformis strain isolated from the nasal mucosa of an HIV patient in Lima, Peru. Exp Parasitol 145:127–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Carlesso AM, Simonetti AB, Artuso GL, Rott MB (2007) Isolation and identification of potentially pathogenic free-living amoebae in samples from environments in a public hospital in the city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical 40:316–320CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dendana F, Sellami H, Jarraya F, Sellami A, Makni F, Cheikhrouhou F, Hachicha J, Ayadi A (2008) Free-living amoebae (FLA): detection, morphological and molecular identification of Acanthamoeba genus in the hydraulic system of an haemodialysis unit in Tunisia. Parasit 15:137–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gomez-Valero L, Buchrieser C (2013) Genome dynamics in Legionella: the basis of versatility and adaptation to intracellular replication. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 3. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a009993
- Lone R, Syed K, AbuduL R, Sajjad Sheikh A, Shah F (2009) Unusual case of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Acanthamoeba keratitis in a non-contact lens wearer from Kashmir, India. BMJ Case Rep 2009Google Scholar
- Orsini J, Tam E, Hauser N, Rajayer S (2014) Polymicrobial Bacteremia Involving Comamonas testosterone. Case Rep Med 2014 (2014), Article ID 578127, 3pGoogle Scholar
- Ovrutsky AR, Chan ED, Kartalija M, Bai X, Jackson M, Gibbs S, Falkinham JO, Iseman MD, Reynolds PR, McDonnell G (2013) Co-occurrence of free-living amoebae and nontuberculous Mycobacteria in hospital water networks, and preferential growth of Mycobacterium avium in Acanthamoeba lenticulata. Appl Environ Microbiol 79:3185–3192CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Perez PN, Ramirez M, Fernandez JA, De Guevara LL (2014) A patient presenting with cholangitis due to Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa successfully treated with intrabiliary colistin. Curr Infect Dis Rep 6:5147Google Scholar
- Rahdar M, Niyyati M, Salehi M, Feghhi M, Makvandi M, Pourmehdi M, Farnia S (2012) Isolation and genotyping of Acanthamoeba strains from environmental sources in Ahvaz City, Khuzestan Province, Southern Iran. Iranian J Parasitol 7:22–26Google Scholar
- Rohr U, Weber S, Michel R, Selenka F, Wilhelm M (1998) Comparison of free-living amoebae in hot water systems of hospitals with isolates from moist sanitary areas by identifying genera and determining temperature tolerance. Appl EnvironMicrobiol 64:1822–1824Google Scholar
- South African National Standard (SANAS) 241 (2015) Drinking water. Part1: Microbiological, physical aesthetic and chemical determinants.Google Scholar
- Taylor GT (1982) The role of pelagic heterotrophic protozoa in nutrient cycling: a review. Ann Inst Oceanogr 58:227–241Google Scholar