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Volume 26, Number 8—August 2020
From the Greek akantha (spike/thorn), which was added before amoeba (change) to describe this organism as having a spine-like structure (acanthopodia). This organism is now well-known as Acanthamoeba, an amphizoic, opportunistic, and nonopportunistic protozoan protist widely distributed in the environment.
In 1930, it was reported by Castellani in yeast (Cryptococcus pararoseus) culture, and was later (1931) classified as the genus Acanthamoeba by Volkonsky. It was later found to be the etiologic agent of Acanthamoeba granulomatous encephalitis and keratitis in humans. This organism can also cause cutaneous acanthamebiasis in debilitated and immunocompromised patients (Figure).
- Castellani A. An amoeba found in culture of yeast: preliminary note. J Trop Med Hyg. 1930;33:160.
- De Jonckheere JF. Ecology of Acanthamoeba. Rev Infect Dis. 1991;13(Suppl 5):S385–7.
- Khan NA. Acanthamoeba: biology and increasing importance in human health. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2003;16:273–307.
Suggested citation for this article: Pradha N. Etymologia: Acanthamoeba. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Aug [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2608.ET2608
Original Publication Date: June 25, 2020