Pathogenic and opportunistic free-living amoebae such as Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri are aerobic, mitochondriate, eukaryotic organisms that occur worldwide and can potentially cause infections in humans and other animals. They are ubiquitous in soil and water resources, aquatic environments, ponds, hot springs, swimming pools, domestic sewage, air, air conditioning chambers, sediments, stagnant water, artificial humanmade creatures, and can infect human and animals (1). These amoebae use bacteria, yeasts, and other organisms as food sources. Unlike real parasites, pathogenic free living amoebae can complete their life cycle without entering the human and animal host body in the environment. An increasing number of people with immunodeficiency diseases, including AIDS treating the patients with corticosteroids or people undergoing chemotherapy, are at increased risk of developing amoebae (2, 3).
In many parts of the world, the pathogenicity of these amoeba has been considered and many studies done on epidemiology and genotyping. Amoebic diseases are challenging to diagnose, which cause delayed diagnosis and cure, and results in a high rate of mortality. Considering those facts, there is an urgent nicissity to pay more attention to this type of diseases.
Despite being a relatively rare disease in comparison with other forms of infectious diseases, Acanthamoeba has hygienic importance in developed and developing countries (4). In Turkey, environmental samples (100%), in USA 2454 tap water samples (51%), water supply in Osaka, Japan (19%), and in 40 water and sanitation samples in Tunisia Hospital (47.6%) Acanthamoeba was found. Also, 14 samples taken from swimming pools in Malaysia, were contaminated with Acanthamoeba (5-7).
In Iran, some studies carried out on water samples in different cities, including stagnant surface water of Qazvin city (43.8%), water resources of Bojnourd (68%), hot springs of Mazandaran province (40.9%), river waters of Tonekabon region (23%). Also, some investigations performed on the water samples of swimming pools and ponds in Sistan - Baluchistan squares (47.56%) and various results reported as mentioned here (8-11).
Acanthamoeba detection is usually carried out based on the structural characteristics of the cyst through direct microscopic diagnostic methods and culture techniques. This technique has its limitations due to the impacts of cultivation conditions. In recent years, the molecular method has largely solved the problem, and the molecular test is a useful confirmation tool for Acanthamoeba differentiation from other free-living amoebae.
Due to the lack of sufficient information about the epidemiological situation of Acanthamoeba in Bandar Abbas water resources, it was necessary to conduct research on various water samples of the city, including swimming pools, squares and fountains, nearby hot springs, stagnant waters, hospital tap water, and water consumption supplies in student dormitories. Some of these areas are recreational and hydrotherapy and are available to the public. That's why it's important to follow the health tips, especially in people who use swimming pools and hot springs.
Also, free-living amoeba is reservoirs for transmission of bacterial agents such as Legionella pneumophila, Helicobacter pylori, and Vibrio Cholera (12).
A review on the published papers and articles revealed that no such study had been conducted in Bandar Abbas Hormozgan, Iran, so far. Finally, the objective of this study was to determine the frequency of free-living amoeba in Bandar Abbas water resources by cultivation and polymerase chain reaction methods.