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Learning objectives

  • Identify two parasites that commonly cause infections of the skin and eyes
  • Identify the major characteristics of specific parasitic diseases affecting the skin and eyes

Many parasitic protozoans and helminths use the skin or eyes as a portal of entry. Some may physically burrow into the skin or the mucosa of the eye; others breach the skin barrier by means of an insect bite. Still others take advantage of a wound to bypass the skin barrier and enter the body, much like other opportunistic pathogens. Although many parasites enter the body through the skin, in this chapter we will limit our discussion to those for which the skin or eyes are the primary site of infection. Parasites that enter through the skin but travel to a different site of infection will be covered in other chapters. In addition, we will limit our discussion to microscopic parasitic infections of the skin and eyes. Macroscopic parasites such as lice, scabies, mites, and ticks are beyond the scope of this text.

Acanthamoeba Infections

Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living protozoan amoebae that are common in soils and unchlorinated bodies of fresh water. (This is one reason why some swimming pools are treated with chlorine.) The genus contains a few parasitic species, some of which can cause infections of the eyes, skin, and nervous system. Such infections can sometimes travel and affect other body systems. Skin infections may manifest as abscesses, ulcers, and nodules. When acanthamoebae infect the eye , causing inflammation of the cornea, the condition is called Acanthamoeba keratitis . [link] illustrates the Acanthamoeba life cycle and various modes of infection.

While Acanthamoeba keratitis is initially mild, it can lead to severe corneal damage, vision impairment, or even blindness if left untreated. Similar to eye infections involving P. aeruginosa, Acanthamoeba poses a much greater risk to wearers of contact lenses because the amoeba can thrive in the space between contact lenses and the cornea. Prevention through proper contact lens care is important. Lenses should always be properly disinfected prior to use, and should never be worn while swimming or using a hot tub.

Acanthamoeba can also enter the body through other pathways, including skin wounds and the respiratory tract. It usually does not cause disease except in immunocompromised individuals; however, in rare cases, the infection can spread to the nervous system, resulting in a usually fatal condition called granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE) (see Fungal and Parasitic Diseases of the Nervous System ). Disseminated infections, lesions, and Acanthamoeba keratitis can be diagnosed by observing symptoms and examining patient samples under the microscope to view the parasite. Skin biopsies may be used.

Acanthamoeba keratitis is difficult to treat, and prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the condition from progressing. The condition generally requires three to four weeks of intensive treatment to resolve. Common treatments include topical antiseptics (e.g., polyhexamethylene biguanide , chlorhexidine , or both), sometimes with painkillers or corticosteroids (although the latter are controversial because they suppress the immune system, which can worsen the infection). Azoles are sometimes prescribed as well. Advanced cases of keratitis may require a corneal transplant to prevent blindness.

Questions & Answers

what a tropism in host
Khaliil Reply
HPV vaccine given to school children
Jayani Reply
Differentiation between electron, proton and neutron
Zainab Reply
proton .possitive charge electron . negative charge neutron . having no charge
Kifayat
proton positive charge. electron negative charge. And no charge of the neutron.
Saman
the nucleus is composed of electrons (-) charge and they turn around the Nucleon the Nucleon = neutron(no charge) + proton (+) a neutron can turn to a proton and vice versa (cuz they have the same mass=1)
BENNINI
what are the roles of microorganisms in human being
Buhari Reply
some causes disease, others are not disease causing
Clark
they're necessary in our digestive system+the skin,everywhere actually the number of them in the human body alone is higher(by millions)than the number of humans cells,they're indispensable in the food industry,others are fundamental to make medicines and more,what exactly are you asking about ?
BENNINI
What are the natural occurring elements found in organisms on earth?
Otu Reply
some of the naturally occurring elements found in organisms are carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen
Yashi
thanks
Mariam
some of them are carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus and sulfur
Jamal
what is Zika virus?
Somali Reply
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. 
Cumar
in pregnancy it can cause the unborn child's head to underdevelop so that it does not grow along with the rest of the body
Bethany
intracellular vesicles are found in
Akshay Reply
how do i report widal slide results
Isaac Reply
how food can be used as a substrate for the growth of microorganisms
Ashi Reply
what is the importance of understanding chemistry in the field of microbiology and food technology?
Charmaine Reply
What is different between eukaryotes and prokcaryotic
Abia Reply
main difference is that eukaryotic cells possess membrane bound organelles
Iqra
prokaryotes are primitive organisms that doesn't contain membrane bound nucleus or any orgenelle while in eukaryotes membrane bound orgenelles and nucleus is present
Yashi
what s anatomy
jane Reply
its mean body structure, function, and systems
gazi
study of internal structure of living things
Falere
anatomy is the study structure of the made human
isir
anotomy is the actual study of body internally and externally Which include how itis made. for what and what is need of this
Iqra
la science anatomie c'est la science qui nous aide à étudier l'homme
Baraka
okay
Baraka
Ancestor are they real
Rapheal Reply
yes of course
David
yes please
Clark
50 50, depending on the accuracy of the clan records.
Vincent
okay
Baraka
Why protist is not a kingdom of Linnaeus 'S taxonomy?
Neha Reply
I dont know
Jeewraj
Linnaeus used Aristotle's criteria for dividing living organisms into kingdoms. Plants are immobile and insensitive, while animals are mobile and sensitive. the creatures he saw through the microscope were mobile, so he attributed them to animals.
Lad
name the different types of media use in lab to detect the micro organisms
Shehzadi Reply
The different types of media used in the lab to detect the microorganisms is known as cell culture..
Tean
solid media or broth is used to grow and detect microorganisms
Pohor
what is microbiology
Baraka
the study of large living organisms
Pratibha
the study of organisms which are micro in range
Vency
what is autoclaving?
Yashi
process for sterilization
Vency
is a machine used on the process of sterilisation
Clark
what is difference between hot air oven and autoclave as they both are used for sterilization ?
Vency
autoclave basically do moist heat sterilization while hot air oven do sterilization by dry heat.....
Yashi
what is the microbe
HUSSAIN
which method out of these two is best?
Yashi
why human have microbe
HUSSAIN
Hi
Sadam
hi to all
Sadam
depends on what to sterilize
Vency
microbes
Md
what is knowledge
HUSSAIN
well idea
Daniel

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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