Laboratory Diagnostic Methods, continued: Naegleria fowleri

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Free-Living Amoeba as Agents of Infection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Laboratory Diagnostic Methods, continued: Naegleria fowleri

Note: None of the methods listed below are widely available.
Indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA)
Available as an antigen-antibody reaction used in conjunction with a fluoresceinated secondary antibody to directly stain the amoebae. This technique is primarily used to identify N. fowleri in tissue but can be used to make an identification in CSF as well.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Another laboratory tool that may be used for the identification of N. fowleri is the multiplex PCR. This reaction can amplify and identify the DNA of free-living amoebae in CSF in approximate five hours.
A sample of CSF is inoculated onto a petri dish containing 1.5% non-nutrient agar which has been seeded with an unspecified strain of E. coli. The plates are incubated at 37° C and examined for up to one week. Growth of N. fowleri can be confirmed by tracks made by the amoebae as they move across the agar eating the bacteria.

N. fowleri IFA - CDC
N. fowleri culture - CDC