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Effect of thermal additions on the density and distribution of thermophilic amoebae and pathogenic Naegleria fowleri in a newly created cooling lake.

By R L Tyndall, K S Ironside, P L Metler, E L Tan, T C Hazen and C B Fliermans


Pathogenic Naegleria fowleri is the causative agent of fatal human amoebic meningoencephalitis. The protozoan is ubiquitous in nature, and its presence is enhanced by thermal additions. In this investigation, water and sediments from a newly created cooling lake were quantitatively analyzed for the presence of thermophilic amoebae, thermophilic Naegleria spp., and the pathogen Naegleria fowleri. During periods of thermal additions, the concentrations of thermophilic amoebae and thermophilic Naegleria spp. increased as much as 5 orders of magnitude, and the concentration of the pathogen N. fowleri increased as much as 2 orders of magnitude. Concentrations of amoebae returned to prior thermal perturbation levels within 30 to 60 days after cessation of thermal additions. Increases in the thermophilic amoeba concentrations were noted in Savannah River oxbows downriver from the Savannah River plant discharge streams as compared with oxbows upriver from the discharges. Concentrations of thermophilic amoebae and thermophilic Naegleria spp. correlated significantly with temperature and conductivity. Air samples taken proximal to the lake during periods of thermal addition showed no evidence of thermophilic Naegleria spp. Isoenzyme patterns of the N. fowleri isolated from the cooling lake were identical to patterns of N. fowleri isolated from other sites in the United States and Belgium

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1989
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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