There are 3 different species:
1. Naegleria species
2. Acanthamoeba species
3. Balamuthia species
There are located in the soil and in contaminated lakes, streams and other water environments.
Most human infections occur during warm summer months by people who were exposed to the organisms.
Naegleria, Balamuthia and Acanthamoeba are opportunistic pathogens (an infectious organism that does not harm its host only if the host's resistance is low). Symptoms of infection include, intense frontal headache, sore throat, fever, blocked nose, stiff neck and Kernig's sign (inflammation of the meninges).
The advancement of this disease os rapid, and victims usually die within 4 to 5 days after being affected.
Acanthamoeba also causes eye trauma. It occurs before contact with contaminated soil, dust or water.
Treatment, Prevention and Control
The treatment of this free-living amoebic infection is ineffective.
It is hard to contain this disease as there is a wide distribution of these organisms in fresh and brackish waters. Swimming pools with cracks in the walls, allowing soil seepage should be repaired to avoid creation of a source of infection.