Update Type: Test Resumed
Test Updated: 08/31/2022
Test Overview
Test Methodology

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)/TaqMan DNA Probe Hybridization

Test Usage

Aids in the diagnosis of primary amebic meningoencephalitis and granulomatous
amebic encephalitis in spinal fluid and tissue in conjunction with clinical findings.

Reference Range *


* Reference ranges may change over time. Please refer to the original patient report when evaluating results.

Test Limitations

Primary amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri is a rapidly fatal disease, and prompt detection may improve the likelihood of survival. The fastest way to make a diagnosis is through examination of spinal fluid for characteristic trophozoites. This may be performed locally by obtaining a cell count with manual differential (hematology laboratory); alert the laboratory that amebic infection is suspected.

Test Details
Days Set Up
Analytic Time

2 days

Soft Order Code
MiChart Code
Free Living Amoeba, PCR (Sendout)
  • CSF, Fresh Water Amoeba Exam
  • Fresh Water Amoeba Culture
  • ACAN
  • Balamuthia mandrillaris PCR
  • Naegleria fowleri PCR
  • Acanthamoeba species PCR
Reference Laboratory
Special Testing
Specimen Requirements

Submit only one of the following specimens: 1) CSF in a sterile container (vial #2), 2) brain, skin, or lung tissue in a sterile container with 1 mL of sterile saline or minimal essential media (MEM), 3) formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) brain, skin, or lung tissue in a sterile container. Refrigerate.

While this assay is designed to detect symptomatic infection with free-living amoeba species, the widespread distribution of these microscopic amebae in the environment may contaminate inanimate objects. Thus, testing should be reserved for patients with a clinical history and symptoms consistent with granulomatous amebic encephalitis and primary amebic meningoencephalitis.
Normal Volume
0.5 mL CSF or 5-10 mm tissue
Minimum Volume
0.3 mL CSF or 5-10 mm tissue
Additional Information

Test includes PCR for Acanthamoeba species, Naegleria fowleri, and Balamuthia mandrillaris. Test sent to Mayo Medical Laboratories.

CPT Code
87798 x3