Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis Due to Naegleria fowleri in a South American Tapir

F. Lozano-Alarcón, G. A. Bradley, B. S. Houser, G. S. Visvesvara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba spp., and Balamuthia mandrillaris are known to cause fatal central nervous system (CNS) disease in human beings. N. fowleri causes acute, fulminating primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which generally leads to death within 10 days. Acanthamoeba spp. and B. mandrillaris cause chronic granulomatous amebic encephalitis, which may last for 8 weeks. Acanthamoeba spp. and B. mandrillaris also cause CNS disease in animals. N. fowleri, however, has been described only in human beings. This report is the first of PAM in an animal, a South American tapir. Dry cough, lethargy, and coma developed in the animal, and its condition progressed to death. At necropsy, lesions were seen in the cerebrum, cerebellum, and lungs. The CNS had severe, suppurative meningoencephalitis with many neutrophils, fibrin, plasma cells, and amebas. Amebas were 6.5 μm to 9 μm in diameter and had a nucleus containing a large nucleolus. Amebas in the sections reacted with a monoclonal antibody specific for N. fowleri in the immunofluorescent assay and appeared bright green.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Acanthamoeba spp.
  • Balamuthia mandrillaris
  • Naegleria fowleri
  • Primary amebic meningoencephalitis
  • Tapir
  • Tapirus terrestris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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