Detection of Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba spp, and Balamuthia mandrillaris in Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Tissues by Real-Time Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction

Andrew P. Norgan, Lynne M. Sloan, Bobbi S. Pritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Pathogenic free-living amebae (FLAs) cause skin, ocular, and central nervous system (CNS) infections with significant morbidity and mortality. Diagnosis of FLA infections by pathologic examination of tissue sections can be aided using molecular assays. This study investigated the performance characteristics of a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay (FLA-PCR) for detection and differentiation of FLAs in clinical specimens. Methods: FLA-PCR was performed on 39 human specimens comprising one cutaneous, 14 corneal, and 24 CNS formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues with a histopathologic diagnosis of FLA infection and four CNS FFPE tissues with inflammation but no evidence of FLAs. In addition, clinical specificity and assay limit of detection were determined. Results: FLA detection sensitivities ranged from 79% to 84% in FFPE tissues. No cross-reactivity was observed. Conclusions: While sensitivity is limited, FLA-PCR assay may serve as a useful adjunct for detection or confirmation of FLA infections in FFPE tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-807
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 4 2019



  • Ameba
  • Amebae
  • Amebic
  • Free-living ameba
  • Granulomatous amebic encephalitis
  • Primary amebic meningoencephalitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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