A genus of free-living ameba (family Acanthamoebidae, order Amoebida) found in and characterized by the presence of acanthopodia. Human infection includes invasion of skin or colonization following injury, corneal invasion and colonization, and possibly lung or genitourinary tract colonization; a few cases of brain or central nervous system invasion have occurred, but not solely by the olfactory epithelium route of entry as with the more virulent infections caused by Naegleria fowleri. Species responsible are chiefly Acanthamoeba culbertsoni, but cases have been reported involving Acanthamoeba castellanii, Acanthamoeba polyphaga, and Acanthamoeba astronyxis. Most cases have been chronic rather than fulminating and rapidly fatal as with N. fowleri infection.
[G. akantha, thorn, spine, + Mod. L. amoeba, fr. G. amoibē, change]
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