Case series of naegleria fowleri primary ameobic meningoencephalitis from Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology; Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Naegleria fowleri causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) which is almost always fatal. Naegleria fowleri is waterborne, and its infections are usually associated with aquatic activities but it can also be transmitted via the domestic water supply. An increasing number of N. fowleri cases have been reported from Pakistan. Improved methods for diagnosis are required. We report the utility of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the diagnosis of N. fowleri in patients suspected of PAM. One hundred and sixteen cases suspected of having PAM were examined. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens were tested at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. Nineteen CSF specimens were positive for N. fowleri by using the PCR. Naegleria fowleri positive patients had a median age of 28 years and were 84% male and 16% female. Overall, the CSF wet preparation microscopy was performed in 85 (73%) cases and identified that seven specimens were positive for motile trophozoites. The CSF wet preparation microscopy and PCR were both performed in these cases. The CSF wet preparation results were available for 15 of the 19 N. fowleri PCR positive CSF samples; seven (40%) wet preparations were positive. Our data highlight the threat of N. fowleri infection as a cause of PAM. It also emphasizes the utility of the PCR-based diagnosis of the amoeba for early diagnosis and management of the disease.

Publication (Name of Journal)

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene