Rare sights in the labs

in STEMGeeks2 months ago

         Well, well, well. What do we have here? It's not often you see something like this at work. In fact, I would say it's rare to even comes across such a patient specimen. The microorganism of interest is in the dead center of the field. This happened some weeks ago.

         That's right. What you see there is an amoeba. From where? In the patient's cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

         I'm sure some of you have heard of "brain-eating amoeba" at some point in your life. Before you freak out, this "patient" was long dead by the time the lab received the specimen. One could say, what we were doing was part of the autopsy process. And no, the cause of death was not because of the amoeba. This was a drowning victim.

         Without using molecular methods, it is impossible to identify the organism. The most likely id to what we saw in the scope was Naegleria fowleri. That's your brain eater. But, it could also be Balamuthia mandrillaris, which could also cause brain damage.

         Let me pull up some pictures from Wikipedia.

         The top image is that of B. mandrillaris. Then, followed by N. fowleri. Now, compare those to the first picture at the beginning of this post. It doesn't help that infections from either organism are rare across the globe. So, expertise is very limited to those who actually do research on the subject.

         Given the circumstances surrounding the victim's death, I would assume it's N. fowleri. Although the shape of the organism seen in the scope seemed closer to Balamuthia. The only way I would ever find out is if the medical director does further investigations. Regardless, this was a rare sight and opportunity in the labs to witness.

         To learn more, you could visit CDC's website. They have entries for B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri. They are very educational and include cited sources for the curious mind.

         Does that mean you should be afraid of going into the water? I hope not. The chance of you drowning is much higher than getting amoeba infections. But, don't go snorting water up your nose now.

Posted with STEMGeeks


what are the other bright spots in the field ? also is this a special microscopic technique ?

 2 months ago 

Cellular debris (and possibly maybe amebic cysts if we look hard enough). The person has been dead for some time when the sample was obtained.

This is normal light microscopy under oil field (100x lens).

very interesting, the background and how bright some spots are put me off, that's why I asked about the microscopic technique

I never heard of brain-eating amoeba so its a new thing for me and I will do some read about it. Interesting topic.

 2 months ago 

It's a rare disease, so most people probably have never heard of it.

If it's so rare and has the potential to be so dangerous, wouldn't they follow up with testing the water where the person drowned ? Or is there nothing that could be done anyway?

 2 months ago (edited)

Not prevalent enough to matter I guess.

For example, N. fowleri is probably in all hot springs of the world. But, there had only been 145 actual cases over 60 years in the US.

From another CDC website on Naegleria fowleri

2010 to 2019, 34 infections were reported in the U.S. Of those cases, 30 people were infected by recreational water, 3 people were infected after performing nasal irrigation using contaminated tap water, and 1 person was infected by contaminated tap water used on a backyard slip-n-slide.

Nasal irrigation and a slip-n-slide??!!

Well, I guess we can't worry about everything :)

 2 months ago 

Life itself is a risk.

Damn fantastic! The last amoeba I saw is amoeba proteus! Is very big, this is small, did you see her with 100x? And of course I saw a documentary on discovery chanel about this species, I saw that it is common to get infected with it in people who bathe in lakes! If I'm not mistaken there is no cure! Fantastic image leonis thanks for sharing it!

 2 months ago 

Yup no cure.

I'm sure some of you have heard of "brain-eating amoeba" at some point in your life.

You damn clickbaiter ;)

Does that mean you should be afraid of going into the water? I hope not. The chance of you drowning is much higher than getting amoeba infections

Thank god!

But, don't go snorting water up your nose now.

Whait! Whoaa...?

 2 months ago 

Mother Nature is scary.

Is amoeba that harmful??
I haven't heard of that.
What i know about amoeba is that they are microorganisms that do not have shape thats all.

#enforcer48 #science #proofofbrain

 2 months ago 

Some can be.


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