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First Report of Vermamoeba vermiformis in the Island of El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

María Reyes-Batlle, Maryam Niyyati, Carolina Wagner, Carmen M. Martín-Navarro, Atteneri López-Arencibia, Ines Sifaoui, Basilio Valladares, Enrique Martínez-Carretero, José E. Piñero, Jacob Lorenzo-Morales




Background: Free-living amoebae (FLA) are group of protozoa distributed worldwide in many habitats mainly water and soil related sources. Some members of FLA are able to act as opportunistic pathogens and are environmental carriers of other pathogenic agents such as bacteria and viruses. Vermamoeba vermiformis is a highly abundant FLA species in water bodies and has recently gained environmental importance as it acts as a vehicle of many pathogenic bacteria such as Legionella pneumophila.

Cases Report: In this study, water samples were collected from the island of El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain during 2015. El Hierro island was designated by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve and it is currently the less populated of the Canary Islands. The water samples were culture on 2 % Non-Nutrient Agar (NNA) plates covered with a thin layer of heat killed E. coli and checked daily for the presence of FLA. After a week, V. vermiformis amoebae were observed in the plates incubated at room temperature and 37 ºC. Molecular characterization was carried out by amplifying the 18S rDNA gene and DNA sequencing, confirming that the isolated strain belonged to Vermamoeba vermiformis species.

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of Vermamoeba vermiformis isolation in the island of El Hierro and the second report of this species in the Canary Islands.


Vermamoeba vermiformis, water, Canary Islands, Spain


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/nbm.v4i4.11004