Vermamoeba vermiformis - A Free-Living Amoeba with Public Health and Environmental Health Significance

Patrick L. Scheid*
Laboratory of Medical Parasitology, Central Military Hospital Koblenz, Andernacherstr. 100, 56070 Koblenz, Germany

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© 2019 Patrick L. Scheid.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Laboratory of Medical Parasitology, Central Military Hospital Koblenz, Andernacherstr. 100, 56070 Koblenz, Germany;


Many case reports emphasize the fact that Free-Living Amoebae (FLA) can relatively easily get in contact with humans or animals. The presence of several facultative parasitic FLA in habitats related to human activities supports their public health relevance. While some strains of Acanthamoeba, Naegleria fowleri, Balamuthia mandrillaris and several other FLA have been described as facultative human pathogens, it remains controversial whether Vermamoeba vermiformis strains may have a pathogenic potential, or whether this FLA is just an incidental contaminant in a range of human cases. However, several cases support its role as a human parasite, either as the only etiological agent, or in combination with other pathogens. Additionally, a wide range of FLA is known as vectors of microorganisms (endocytobionts), hereby emphasizing their environmental significance. Among those FLA serving as hosts for and vectors of (pathogenic) endocytobionts, there are also descriptions of V. vermiformis as a vehicle and a reservoir of those endocytobionts. The involvement in animal and human health, the role as vector of pathogenic microorganisms and the pathogenicity in cell cultures, led to the assumption that V. vermiformis should be considered relevant in terms of public health and environmental health.

Keywords: Vermamoeba vermiformis, Free-living amoebae, FLA, Endocytobionts, Endosymbionts, Water related parasites, Public Health, Environmental Health.