Acanthamoeba is one of the more abundant protozoa on earth. Members of the genus Acanthamoeba are almost ubiquitous and have been isolated from soil, dust, air, treated and untreated tap water, swimming pools, air-conditioning units and numerous other domestic and outdoor environments. Corneal ulceration and uveitis can be caused by Acathamoeba spp. The former is serious, producing a chronic progressive ulcerative lesion that may result in blindness. Infection commonly follows mild corneal trauma. Causes tend to be multifactorial, however, a major risk factor is the use of contact lenses, predominantly daily wear or extended-wear soft lenses. Patients with this infection may be more likely to use home-made saline instead of commercially prepared saline, disinfect their lenses less frequently than recommended and wear their lenses while swimming.
The diagnosis can be confirmed by real-time PCR, using specific primers and probes for the detection of Acanthamoeba.
Microbiology - Virology
Scrapings should be collected using a scalpel blade and dry swab.
NOTE: Please avoid contaminating the sample with local anaesthetic as this is inhibitory to PCR.
Place blade and swab in a small volume of Viral Transport Media (VTM) or sterile distilled water (approx 0.5 - 1.0 mL).
***IMPORTANT NOTE: Small volume of VTM or water for transport.***
Note: Contact lens and/or fluid should be sent in conjunction with a corneal scraping and NOT as a primary specimen.
Deliver to lab ASAP.
Chilled (2 - 8 degrees Celsius)
Corneal scrape, corneal swab in saline or VTM. For external referrals, forward to CHL chilled.
Presence of Acanthamoeba is an abnormal result.
Nucleic acid extraction, PCR amplification and detection.
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