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Amoebic ambush artist: salad days ahead?

Amoebic ambush artist: Salad days ahead?

Tropical medicine specialists, with an eye for the unusual, continue to identify new or newly arrived disease-causing organisms in the United States. Among these is the "leptomixid" amoeba shown here, resembling a lettuce leaf in miniature. Since its 1986 discovery in the cyst-riddled brain of a dead baboon at the San Diego Zoo, the amoeba has caused 10 human encephalitis deaths in the United States, including two this year, says Govinda S. Visvesvara of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The organism, related to a harmless, soil-dwelling microbe, has never been detected outside its victims but may be ubiquitous in the environment, he adds.

Leptomixid-caused encephalitis appears untreatable, says Visvesvara, who suspects the amoeba has led to more deaths than the 16 now tabulated worldwide.
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Title Annotation:encephalitis-causing amoeba identified
Author:Weiss, Rick
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 17, 1990
Words:132
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