Acanthamoeba detected in Australian coastal lagoons

Among water samples taken from four lagoons on the east coast of Australia, 38% tested positive for Acanthamoeba

An out-of-focus ray of light shines on a body of water

New research published in Science of the Total Environment has outlined the presence of the corneal pathogen Acanthamoeba in four lagoons on the east coast of Australia.

Water samples were collected from the Wamberal, Terrigal, Avoca and Cockrone lagoons every month between August 2019 and July 2020.

Among the 206 water samples analysed, 38% were positive for Acanthamoeba. Levels of Acanthamoeba were higher in summer than in winter, spring, or autumn.

The Terrigal lagoon had the highest proportion of water samples that were positive for Acanthamoeba, with 51% testing positive for the pathogen.

“The results of this study suggest that coastal lagoons, particularly those in urbanised regions with extensive water recreational activities, may pose an elevated risk to human health due to the relatively high incidence of pathogenic Acanthamoeba in the summer,” the study authors highlighted.

A previous study from 2021 found that Acanthamoeba was prevalent in 29% of domestic tapwater in the greater Sydney region.