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CDC at Work: Balamuthia mandrillaris

Balamuthia mandrillaris Program

CDC created the national Free-living and Intestinal Ameba (FLIA) Laboratory in 1978, which has become a national and global leader for diagnostic expertise and clinical guidance. As a national resource for health departments and clinicians, CDC’s FLIA laboratory diagnoses most Balamuthia infections in the U.S. The CDC's Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (WBDOSS) surveillance system and FLIA laboratory track and assist with infections caused by the intestinal ameba Entamoeba histolytica and the free-living amebae Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba, and Sappinia.

The CDC Balamuthia program focuses on five main areas to better understand and combat this disease:

  1. Providing 24/7 diagnostic expertise and clinical guidance to health professionals
  2. Tracking, investigating, and reporting infections and disease outbreaks
  3. Leading CDC health promotion and communication activities
  4. Testing the efficacy of promising drugs against the ameba in the laboratory setting
  5. Developing new methods for detection of Balamuthia in clinical and environmental samples (for example, in water)