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Darlene Miller, Martha Diaz, Edith Perez, Jorge Maestre, Eduardo C Alfonso; Ecological Diversity of Acanthamoeba and Associated Microbial Communities.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):6260.
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Purpose: To investigate the ecological diversity of Acanthamoeba hosts and associated microbial communities.
Methods: We identified and compared the microbial ecology of microbial communities recovered from Acanthamoeba hosts and associated microorganisms using next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques (N=3) and routine bacterial culture results from cornea (N=164) and contact lenses (N=35) of patients with acanthamoeba keratitis. We also compared the clinical isolates profiles with hosts and associated communities from 7 environmental sources : Showers heads-N=30), Marine waters N=20), swimming pools (N=18), Ice machines (N=6), drinking fountains (N=5) and eyewash stations (N=207).
Results. A total of 156 microbial species identified by NGS were classified into predominantly seven environmental reservoirs/niches and included-environment (soil/water/plants)-31%, soil/ rhizophere-27%, humans and man-made environments-17%, polluted waste/water-9%, marine waters-7%, fresh water-6%, and humans and pets-3%. Thirty-six percent of community members recognized as corneal pathogens. Humans and man-made environments were the main reservoirs associated with, 57% (N=8/14) and microbial communities recovered from AK cornea cultures, 57% (N=93/164) and contact lens cases, 48%, (N=17/35). Acanthamoeba was recovered from all of the environmental sources and ranged from 11% (pools) to 40% (drinking fountains). Showerheads (17%) and eyewash stations, ( (15.9%) were more frequently positive and associated with Pseudomonas species and Mycobacterium species.
Conclusions: Reservoirs and transmission niches for Acanthamoeba hosts and associated microbial communities may be more common in the natural and man-made environments than previously recognized. Human colonization and pets may offer unrecognized sources. Understanding the ecology of Acanthamoeba and associated microbial communities is important in deciphering the epidemiology, transmission and risk factors for the disease.
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