First detection of Acanthamoeba spp. and Balamuthia mandrillaris in different water ecosystems in Leicestershire (UK).
Acanthamoeba spp., Naegleria fowleri and Balamuthia mandrillaris can produce severe brain infections in immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. These free‐living amoebae (FLA) have a worldwide distribution. Despite the rarity of brain infections by these organisms in the United Kingdom (UK), generally linked to travelling exposures, the incidence of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is significantly higher in the UK than in other European countries or the United States. However, to date, isolation of these pathogens in the UK is limited to Acanthamoeba spp., mainly in drinking water supplies. Three sets of 30 water samples were collected, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) method 1623, from different open water systems in Leicestershire (UK) per season between March and November 2018 using a portable water pump connected to a foam filter module. Water samples were collected in the same locations each season from: 15 ponds (in public parks)/water reservoirs; 7 from the River Soar; 2 from a canalised section of the River Soar, Grand Union canal; 1 from the River Biam and a marina near the River Soar; 4 from lakes highly frequented for fishing or leisure (John Merricks', Kings Lear’s; Bennion Pools Fishing and Abbey park). Water samples were concentrated using the IDEXX® Filta Max system according to manufacturer's instructions and EPA method 1623; DNA was extracted using a FastDNA® Kit. Real-time PCR was used to detect these FLA according to previous methodologies. To our knowledge, these FLA were detected for the first time in 12/90 (13.3%) of the monitored samples in Leicestershire. N. fowleri was not detected in any sample; whereas Acanthamoeba spp. was detected in 11 water samples (12.2%) in all three seasons and environments monitored except the marina, which may suggest a wide environmental distribution of this pathogen in England. B. mandrillaris was found in John Merricks’ lake (1.1%) in Spring 2018, which is the first report of the presence of this pathogen in the UK. Our results highlight a potential risk for human health that should be carefully considered due to the high number of users of these water environments, particularly of the River Soar. Awareness of the presence of these pathogens and specific control measures should be provided to users of these open water systems.
Citation : Anjum U., Magnet A., Lobo-Bedmar MC., Peña-Fernández A. (2019) First detection of Acanthamoeba spp. and Balamuthia mandrillaris in different water ecosystems in Leicestershire (UK). 55th Congress of the European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX 2019), Helsinki, Finland, 8th to 11th September 2019. Toxicology Letters 2019; 314S1:S118-S119.
ISSN : 0378-4274
Research Institute : Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes