This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Granulomatous amebic encephalitis is a life-threatening infection of the brain caused by the free-living amoebae Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris and Sappinia pedata. Acanthamoeba species, are commonly found in lakes, swimming pools, tap water, and heating and air conditioning units. The disease affects immunocompromised peple and is very serious. Symptoms include mental status changes, loss of coordination, fever, muscular weakness or partial paralysis affecting one side of the body, double vision, sensitivity to light and other neurologic problems. The diagnosis is difficult and is often made at advanced stages. Tests useful in the diagnosis include brain scans, biopsies, or spinal taps and in disseminated disease, biopsy of the involved sites and testing by the laboratory experts. Early diagnosis is important for the prognosis. No single drug is effective; hence multiple antibiotics are needed for successful treatment. A combination of surgical and medical interventions involving multiple specialty experts is required to prevent death and morbidity in survivors.
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