Presence of Thermophilic Naegleria Isolates in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

  • Robert F. Ramaley
  • Pamela L. Scanlan
  • William D. O’Dell


During a study of the extremely thermophilic bacteria of Yellowstone, we became aware of the published report (Scaglia et al., 1983) of the isolation of a thermophilic amoeba (Naegleria australiensis) from the bathing pools of a commercial Italian hot spring spa and their observation that some of these newly isolated amoebae strains were as virulent for mice as Naegleria fowleri, the etiological agent of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis in humans (John, 1982; Marciano-Cabral, 1988). Because of the possibility that similar types of thermophilic pathogenic amoebae might be present in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park thermal areas and possible exposure to park visitors and employees, we conducted a survey for Naegleria isolates, concentrated on those pools or outflows where it was known that visitors and employees used these pools for unauthorized bathing and soaking (Whittley, 1995).


Axenic Medium Thermophilic Bacterium Nonnutrient Agar Runoff Channel Thermus Ruber 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Boyle, J., Kingston, N., and Jolley, W. 1982. Thermophilic amoebae from Yellowstone Hot Springs. Annual Meeting, Am. Soc. Parasit Ab. 31.Google Scholar
  2. Brock, T. D., and Freeze, H. 1969. Thermus aquaticus, gen. n. and sp. n., a nonsporulating extreme thermophile. J. Bacteriol. 98:289–297.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cerva, L. 1969. Amoebic meningoencephalitis: axenic culture of Naegleria. Science 163:576.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. DeJonckheere, J. 1977. Use of an axenic medium for differentiation between pathogenic and non-pathogenic Naegleria fowleri isolates. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 33:751–757.Google Scholar
  5. DeJonckheere, J., and Van De Voorde, H. 1977. The distribution of Naegleria fowleri in man-made thermal waters. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 26:10–15.Google Scholar
  6. DeJonckheere, J. F. 1979. Occurrence of Naegleria and Acanthamoeba in aquaria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 38:590–593.Google Scholar
  7. DeJonckheere, J. 1981. Naegleria australiensis sp. nov., another pathogenic Naegleria from water. Protistologica 17:423–429.Google Scholar
  8. DeJonckheere, J. F., Aerts, M., and Martinez, A. J. 1983. Naegleria australiensis: Experimental meningoencephalitis in mice. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 77:712–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeJonckheere, J. F., Pernin, P., Scaglia, M., and Michel, R. 1984. A comparative study of 14 strains of Naegleria australiensis demonstrates the existence of a highly virulent subspecies: N. australiensis italica n. ssp. J. Protozool 31:324–331.Google Scholar
  10. Jensen, T., and Dubes, G. R. 1962. Cloning, titration, and differentiation of Acanthamoeba sp. by plating. J. Parasitol. 48:280–286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. John, D. T. 1982. Primary amebic meningoencephalitis and the biology of Naegleria fowleri. Annu. Rev. Microbiol 63:101–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. John, D. T., Cole, T. B., and Marciano-Cabral, F. 1984. Sucker-like structure on the pathogenic amoeba Naegleria fowleri. Appl Environ. Microbiol. 47:12–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. John, D. T., and Hoppe, K. L. 1990. Susceptibility of wild mammals to infection with Naegleria fowleri. J. Parasitol. 76:865–868.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kilvington, S., and Beeching, J. 1995. Development of a PCR for identification of Naegleria fowleri from the environment. Appl. Environ. Microbiol 61:3764–3767.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kollars, T. M., and Wilhelm, W. E. 1996. The occurrence of antibodies to Naegleria species in wild mammals. J. Parasitol. 82:73–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kyle, D. E., and Noblet, G. P. 1985. Vertical distribution of potentially pathogenic free-living amoebae in freshwater lakes. J. Protozool. 32:99–105.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Loginova, L. G., and Egorova, L. A. 1975. Thermus ruber obligate thermophilic bacteria in thermal springs of Kamchatka. Mikrobiologiia 44:661–665.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Marciano-Cabral, F., 1988. Biology of Naegleria spp. Microbiol. Rev. 52:114–133.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Martinez, A. J., and Visvesvara, G. S. 1997. Free-living, amphizoic and opportunistic amebas. Brain Pathol. 7:583–598.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mitchell, L. G., Mutchmor, J. A., and Dolphin, W. D. 1988. Zoology. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings.Google Scholar
  21. O’Dell, W. D., and Stevens, A. R. 1973. Quantitative growth in Naegleria in axenic culture. Appl. Microbiol. 25:621–627.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. O’Dell, W. D. 1979. Isolation, enumeration and identification of amoebae from a Nebraska lake. J. Protozool. 26:265–269.Google Scholar
  23. Page, F. C. 1967. Taxonomic criteria for limax amoebae, with description of 3 new species of Hartmannella and 3 of Vahlkampfia. J. Bacteriol. 98:289–297.Google Scholar
  24. Ramaley, R. F., and Hixson, J. 1970. Isolation of a nonpigmented, thermophilic bacterium similar to Thermus aquaticus. J. Bacteriol. 103:527–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Ramaley, R. F., and Bitzinger, K. 1975. Types and distribution of obligate thermophilic bacteria in man-made and natural thermal gradients. Appl. Microbiol. 30:152–155.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Ramaley, R. F., Bitzinger, K., Carroll, R. M., and Wilson, R. B. 1975. Isolation of a new pink thermophilic bacterium (K-2 Isolate). Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 25:357–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Scaglia, M., Storsselli, M., Grazioli, V., Gatti, S., Bernuzzi, A. M. and DeJonckheere, J. F. 1983. Isolation and identification of pathogenic Naegleria australiensis (Amoebida, Vahlkampfidae) from a spa in Northern Italy. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 46:1282–1285.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Scanlan, R L. 1988. Application of the API ZYM system in the identification of Naegleria isolates. M.S. Thesis, University of Nebraska at Omaha.Google Scholar
  29. Stevens, A. R., DeJonckheere, J., and Willaert, E. 1980. Naegleria lovaniensis new species: Isolation and identification of six thermophilic strains of a new species found in association with Naegleria fowleri. Int. J. Parasit. 10:51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thong, Y. H., and Ferrante, A. 1986. Migration pattern of pathogenic and nonpathogenic Nagleria spp. Infect. Immun. 51:177–180.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Whittley, L. H. 1995. Death in Yellowstone. Boulder, CO: Roberts Rinehart.Google Scholar
  32. Willaert, E. 1971. Isolement et culture in vitro des amibes du genre Naegleria. Ann. Soc. Beige Med. Trop. 51: 701–708.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Ramaley
    • 1
  • Pamela L. Scanlan
    • 1
    • 2
  • William D. O’Dell
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA

Personalised recommendations