Acanthamoeba is a common infection that can affect people of all ages. Although it is usually mild, it can sometimes cause severe problems if left untreated. Fortunately, one can take steps to combat acanthamoeba and protect oneself from this infection. This article discusses everything one needs to know to understand and treat acanthamoeba. Read on to understand the causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments available so that one can make an informed decision.
What is acanthamoeba?
Acanthamoeba is a genus of single-celled, microscopic parasites found in water and soil worldwide. This amoeba can cause severe illnesses like meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and its surrounding tissues) as well as keratitis (an infection of the eye).
It is also known to cause infections in humans that are difficult to treat due to its supplement resistance. Although it can be transmitted through contact with contaminated food or water, direct contact with infected animals or fecal matter is a common transmission route for this organism.
What are the symptoms of acanthamoeba?
Acanthamoeba is an infection that can cause a variety of symptoms. While the infection is typically asymptomatic, some individuals may experience a range of symptoms that include:
Redness in the eyes
Eye pain or sensitivity to light
To avoid these risks, receiving prompt diagnosis and treatment is important. Treatment may include prescription treatments or surgical removal of the infected tissue.
What are the causes of acanthamoeba?
There are several ways in which acanthamoeba can be contracted. Some of the common causes of acanthamoeba include:
Ingesting contaminated food or water: If one consumes food or water contaminated with acanthamoeba, it can cause infection.
Contact lenses: Acanthamoeba can be found in water sources, and contact lenses exposed to contaminated water can increase the risk of infection.
Skin wounds: Open wounds or cuts can allow acanthamoeba to enter the body and cause infection.
Swimming: Swimming in contaminated water sources can increase the risk of infection.
Poor hygiene practices: Not washing hands regularly after coming into contact with soil or water sources where these parasites may live can increase one’s chance of becoming infected with acanthamoeba, which is resistant to many disinfectants used at home, such as bleach solutions.
How is acanthamoeba diagnosed?
The diagnosis of acanthamoeba primarily involves two methods: Confocal microscopy and corneal scraping.
Confocal microscopy: It is a non-invasive technique to diagnose infections caused by acanthamoeba and other microorganisms. The procedure includes taking a sample of cells from around or near the affected area and staining them with fluorescent dyes before examining them under specialized equipment.
Corneal scraping: This is another method used for diagnosing an acanthamoeba infection. This method requires the removal of tissue from within the eye using special microsurgical instruments or some other unique solutions. This procedure collects cells from deeper layers within the cornea, which are then examined for signs of infection under high magnification.
Scrapings are then sent to an appropriate laboratory for analysis so that samples can be examined under a microscope for the presence of organisms like acanthamoeba.
Both diagnostic processes provide valuable insight into treating acanthamoeba, which must be carefully monitored since it can potentially cause serious complications, including vision loss, if left untreated.
What are the treatment options for acanthamoeba?
Acanthamoeba is a type of amoeba that can cause severe infections in humans. Acanthamoeba infection can permanently damage the eyes or even cause blindness. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for people with Acanthamoeba infections:
Prescription treatments: Certain prescription treatments can treat mild cases of acanthamoeba infection by killing off the amoeba cells directly on contact.
Eye drops: Certain eye drops are effective against acanthamoeba when applied topically over an extended period of time.
Oral supplements: It helps to kill off any remaining amoeba cells inside one’s body before they reach other organs, where they could potentially cause more damage.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue caused by advanced acanthamoeba.
Anyone who suspects they might have an acanthamoeba must seek medical attention immediately so that appropriate treatment measures can be taken quickly before any lasting damage occurs.