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    Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a painful vision-threatening infection caused by pathogenic free-living Acanthamoeba. Due to the non-specific clinical presentation, this condition tends to be misdiagnosed by clinicians. A timely diagnosis is crucial for favorable visual outcome. Three hundred patients with suspected microbial keratitis presenting to the Advanced Eye Center at our tertiary care center in North India during the period from 2014 to 2018 were included. Patient's corneal scrapings, contact lens, lens solution, lens case, and tears were processed for microscopic examination by Giemsa and Calcofluor staining, non-nutrient agar (NNA) culture and molecular diagnosis by conventional PCR (cPCR) and Real-time PCR (qPCR). 18S rDNA gene sequencing was done to assess phylogenetic relationship. AK was found in 3.6% (11/300) of non-bacterial non-fungal keratitis patients. Among microbiological techniques, microscopy for Acanthamoeba was positive in 7 cases, NNA culture was positive in 9 cases and 11 cases were detected both by cPCR and qPCR. The sensitivity of microscopy, culture, cPCR and qPCR was 63.64%, 81.82 %, 100%, and 100% respectively whereas specificity was 100% for all the tests. 18S rDNA sequencing revealed that A. castellanii was the predominant species and isolates were genetically distinct. AK should be considered in the differential diagnosis of infectious keratitis. Molecular tests are useful for rapid, sensitive and specific diagnosis and must be included in workup of keratitis. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Kirti Megha, Megha Sharma, Amit Gupta, Rakesh Sehgal, Sumeeta Khurana. Microbiological diagnosis of Acanthamoebic keratitis: experience from tertiary care center of North India. Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease. 2021 Jun;100(2):115339

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    PMID: 33618203

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