Acanthamoeba is a microscopic, free-living ameba that is relatively common in the environment. This ameba has been
isolated from water (including natural and treated water in pools or hot tubs), soil, air (in association with cooling
towers, heating, ventilation and air conditioner [HVAC] systems), sewage systems, and drinking water systems
(shower heads, taps). Most people will be exposed to Acanthamoeba during their lifetime and will not get sick.
However, Acanthamoeba is capable of causing several infections in humans.
Acanthamoeba keratitis – A local infection of the eye that typically occurs in healthy persons and can result in
permanent visual impairment or blindness.
Granulomatous Amebic Encephalitis (GAE) – A serious infection of the brain and spinal cord that typically occurs in
persons with a compromised immune system.
Disseminated infection – A widespread infection that can affect the skin, sinuses, lungs, and other organs
independently or in combination. It is also more common in persons with a compromised immune system.