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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 28, 2016

Occurrence of Naegleria species in therapeutic geothermal water sources, Northern Iran

Ali Reza Latifi, Maryam Niyyati, Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, Ali Haghighi, Seyyed Javad Seyyed Tabaei, Zohreh Lasjerdi and Eznolah Azargashb
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Potentially pathogenic Free-Living Amoebae include members belonging to Naegleria genus. The species N. fowleri is known worldwide as the causative agent of the lethal Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM). Only one clinical case of N. fowleri has been reported in Iran. Several species of Naegleria have been reported to be natural carriers of other potentially pathogenic microbial agents. The thermotolerance properties of this genus facilitates their presence in geothermal water sources including hot springs and spas. In the current study water samples were collected from 22 therapeutic hot springs, Northern Iran and investigated for the presence of Naegleria spp. using morphological keys and PCR/DNA sequencing based methods. Incubation of collected samples were done at both 30°C and 45°C in order to detect Naegleria spp. and N. fowleri, respectively. Thermotolerance assay and flagellation tests were also performed. The obtained results revealed that 54% of the investigated water samples were positive for Naegleria spp. including N. australiensis, N. americana, N. dobsoni, N. pagei, N. polaris and N. fultoni. The pathogenic N. fowleri was not detected. The most detected Naegleria was belonged to N. australiensis. This is the first report on the Naegleria spp. occurrence in hot springs in Northern Iran showing that most of the surveyed hot spring sources were contaminated with non-pathogenic Naegleria spp. However, due to the recent report of PAM in the country, further studies to investigate the presence of pathogenic N. fowleri in the environment and clinical samples is needed in the region and worldwide.


JLM was supported by the Ramón y Cajal Subprogramme from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competivity RYC-2011-08863.Thanks are due to Dr. Niloofar Taghipour for her valuable comments. Thanks are due to Cellular and molecular biology research centre, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (Grant number: 5041). This article has been extracted from the thesis written by Mr. Alireza Latifi.


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Received: 2016-4-28
Revised: 2016-10-10
Accepted: 2016-10-11
Published Online: 2016-12-28
Published in Print: 2017-3-1

© 2016 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS