The infections were linked to piping drinking water overland, sometimes for hundreds of kilometers, hence resulting in the water being heated and having low disinfectant levels. These conditions allowed the water and pipes to become colonized by Naegleria fowleri. Several water systems in the states of Western Australia and South Australia continue to be monitored regularly for Naegleria fowleri colonization in drinking water distribution systems.
As the transportation of drinking water via pipes, boats or road is still a necessity across much of Australia for both rural and mining communities the continuous monitoring of potable water is essential.
References:3. Naegleria fowleri: Barricading the brain against amoeba. [24/03/2017]
While ALS Melbourne is already utilising the PCR process for Amoeba confirmation, ALS Perth has recently gained NATA accreditation for the analysis of Amoeba spp. using Real Time PCR.
Real-time PCR is a laboratory technique utilising molecular biology. It monitors the amplification of a targeted DNA molecule, in this case amoeba spp., during the PCR process, i.e. in real time, and not at the end, as in conventional PCR methods. The speciation of the amoeba sample is confirmed as either Naegleria fowleri, Naegleria spp. or Acanthamoeba spp. via the comparison of the outputted sequence to the reference material.
Advantages of real-time PCR
- Turnaround time for the presence and confirmation of either Naegleria fowleri, Naegleria spp. or Acanthamoeba spp. is confirmed in 5 days – down from 10 days.
- Eliminates the need for electrophoresis or gel imaging used in the traditional PCR techniques.
- Reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
- RT-PCR does not require the use of Ethidium bromide (which is a carcinogenic).
Bottle requirements: 500 ml sodium thiosulphate preserved bottle.
Recommended holding time: 24 hours (up to 3 days acceptable).
ALS Method Codes
MP699: Confirmation / Speciation of Thermotolerant Amoeba by PCR