Amoebas dangerous ?

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Satinnature
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Amoebas dangerous ?

#1 Post by Satinnature » Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:39 pm

Hello,

I have a question, I would like to observe amoebas, tough, when I read about them, I learnt that some strains are dangerous.
So I was wondering, as an amateur microscopist, do I have to take some precautions when manipulating protists ?
I'm thinking about nematodes too.

Of course I wash my hands after using my microscope and observing those. But should I use gloves ?
Glasses ? A mask ? I don't know. Should I use my microscope on tiles rather than wood ? Thanks

DonSchaeffer
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#2 Post by DonSchaeffer » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:52 pm

I think it's safe as long as you don't swallow them or get them in your orifices. I see them very often in my grass infusions.

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Plasmid
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#3 Post by Plasmid » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:52 am

Yes amoebas are dangerous. Although rare in the Western hemisphere, a few cases pop up every now and then like the case of a 7-year-old that went swimming in freshwater and ended up with a "brain eating amoeba" which is caused by Naegleria fowleri, although it's not really classified as an amoeba. Another disease of the central nervous system caused by an amoebae is meningeocephalopathy, caused by Acanthamoeba; which normal habitat includes warm lakes, ponds, puddles, mud and moist soil. You can also find this particular one in swimming pools,air conditioning units, humidifiers, contact lens solution. When handling pond water keep in mind that amoeba can enter the host through cuts or scrapes on the skin, and then travel to the brain via cranial nerves.... And its usually fatal. To put it in perspective there's only been three survivors since records have been kept. If any of that doesn't scare you enough both of the amoebas listed above produce resistant cyst. Furthermore the most common disease caused by amoebas is amebiasis which is characterized by severe diarrhea, colitis, appendicitis etc..
The most serious version "invasive extraintestinal amebiasis" can cause lesions in the liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys and brain. Entamoeba histolytica can cause all of the ones listed above, and it's favorite route of entrance is from contaminated hands. I found some of the ones that I've listed and some of my water samples. So by all means make sure to wash your hands and disinfect the surface where you prepare your slides.
I I have all of my microscopes on a wooden desk with a plastic lining on top of it, so that I can disinfect it with alcohol and or a bleach solution. As far as using gloves and or safety glasses, it's a personal choice in labs it's a requirement to do so.

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Satinnature
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#4 Post by Satinnature » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:38 am

Why did I choose to like protists.

I should just keep to plants and harmless stuff like lichen or moss maybe ahaha.

But yeah that scared me a bit !

MicroBob
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#5 Post by MicroBob » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:27 am

Hi together,
I would suggest to treat this in perspective to what you and others do in everyday life. I go swimming in ponds and rivers and dig around in the garden if my wife gets hold of me. I dive in this water but avoid to swallow it. I don't wear a full body condom when I enter the water. This is what many other people do and rarely one gets a problem with amoebae.
On the other hand side when I would set up a culture where I promote and intensify the development of micro life I would be cautious, not only because of amoebae, but also bacteria and other stuff. This also will depend on the environment where you take your samples from.

Bob

DonSchaeffer
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#6 Post by DonSchaeffer » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:28 pm

When you look at plants, especially those in moist environments, you are bound to find amoebas. There was a You Tube by a dentist looking at biofilm (plaque) in the mouth of a patient who found two amoebas crawling among the bacteria and consuming them. The dentist did warn us that we don't want to have amoebas in our mouths.

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Satinnature
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#7 Post by Satinnature » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:38 am

You can't escaped amoebas then

JGardner
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Re: Amoebas dangerous ?

#8 Post by JGardner » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:50 pm

Working with amoebas is a minor risk that can easily be mitigated by common sense precautions like washing hands after handling materials, wearing gloves (particularly if you have any open cuts on your hands), refraining from eating and drinking while working with amoeba-containing materials, etc.

The same applies to working with other biological materials (bacteria, fungus, protists, etc.) and chemicals. Just use good common sense and reasonable precautions and you'll be fine.

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